Electric Vehicles – Strata Property Act Amendments

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With the explosive growth of Electric Vehicles being sold over the last few years expected to continue well into the future, supported by a government ban on the sale of gasoline powered vehicles by 2035, multi-unit residential buildings including Strata Corporations will face escalating pressures to accommodate the home charging of these cars.  Like it or not, EVs are not going anywhere.

To address this growing need, and to ensure that Strata Corporations have fair and equitable processes in place to review and allow for the installation of charging stations, the provincial government has passed several amendments to the Strata Property Act and the associated Regulations.  These clarify the process by which Owners can apply for permission to install EV Chargers, criteria which Council must consider and timelines associated with that process, sets requirements for the solicitation of an Electrical Planning Report (often referred to as an EV Ready Plan, though the two are not necessarily the same thing), how to fund these activities and more.  Note that if your Strata Corporation already has an Electrical Planning Report, some of these requirements may already in place for your property including the need to respond to a request for an installation from an Owner within 3 months.

Our friends at the Vancouver Island Strata Owners Association (VISOA) have put together two very helpful guides explaining the amendments to the Act and their implications:

The first guide relates to the overall amendments to the Act, particularly those that deal with consideration of Owner requests, timelines, cost allocation, reasons for declining a request, and more.

The second guide clarifies what an Electrical Planning Report is, who can prepare one, when they are required, how they are paid for and more (including disclosure requirements, notably including the need to share the report with any Form B just like a Depreciation Report).  Please note that often, Electrical Planning Reports are more in-depth and detailed than “EV Ready Plans” which is more of a marketing designation- if you are not sure if your EV Ready Plan qualifies as an Electrical Planning Report, we suggest asking the preparer of the report.  VISOA notes the following on that point:

Is an EV Ready Plan the same as an electrical planning report?

No. While these reports might contain some of the same information such as the current capacity of the electrical system, the current peak demand and spare capacity, the reports have different information and purposes.

  • An electrical planning report provides an overview of your electrical system to help you plan for the future. The strata is required by law to obtain the report.

  • An EV Ready Plan focuses on electric vehicle charging only and includes a budget to proceed with a defined project. The EV Ready Plan is not required by law. It exists for the purpose of applying for rebates from the Clean BC – Go Electric EV Charger Rebate Program to install EV charging infrastructure. An EV Ready Plan doesn’t contain all of the information that the Strata Property Act and Regulation require for an electrical planning report.

We expect that the current trend will only accelerate- that more and more Owners will request permission for Strata permission to install EV Chargers.  Those Strata Corporations without a plan in place including the appropriate bylaws and processes may be caught flat-footed- especially with the relatively short window of 3 months to reply (it would be very challenging to create an entire framework for such an installation within 3 months).  We encourage all of our clients to proactively solicit an Electrical Planning Report when you feel it appropriate, and to seek legal advice in the crafting of appropriate bylaws and indemnification agreements to ensure that your Strata Corporation’s overall best interests, particularly those that relate to the electrical infrastructure of the property, are adequately protected.  As noted by VISOA: “Many of the conditions listed in the Act that council may consider are not binding unless there is an agreement between the owner and the strata corporation. The conditions that council wants to include in their approval should be set out in an indemnity agreement, assumption of liability agreement, or other form of written agreement. The strata could have a lawyer draft a standard agreement that can be used for each request that is approved by council.”.

Please let us know if you’d like to seek either legal advice and/or engineering assistance with the crafting of appropriate reports and processes to accommodate the many EVs that will be sold to Strata Owners in the coming decade. We are pleased to help your Strata work toward a greener future!