Installed a Tesla charger in my condo garage. Other owners are forcing me to remove it. Thoughts?

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#1
I live in an 8 unit condo building, each one owned by individual owners. I'm also the president of the HOA. In past HOA meetings I have brought up the fact that I'm planning on installing a Tesla charger in my dedicated parking spot in our condo garage. Nobody objected to it when I brought it up in the past.

Fast forward to taking delivery of my Model 3, I wanted to make sure that I had a charger installed in time for the car to arrive, so about a month ago I fast tracked an install and had an electrician come out and run the wiring from the panels on the outside of the building up to my parking spot about 100' away at the front of the garage. They ran the wiring on the outside of the building and then drilled a small hole through the concrete to reach my parking spot inside.

Other owners in the building are claiming that I abused my power as the president of the HOA by not getting approval to install the charger, and saying that I've caused damage to the building (one little hole in the concrete).

The tenants called an emergency meeting tonight to oust me as the president, force me to remove the charger, and repair the building. It cost me $1,800 to install the charger, who knows how much more it would cost to remove it - not to mention the inconvenience of not being able to charge at home.

I realize I was in the wrong for proceeding with an install/modification to the building without full approval, but understand that there are some laws in place to protect people who want to install an EV charger despite whatever bylaws exist for the HOA/condo association.

Anyone with experience in this arena willing to chime in on what the best way for me to proceed would be?
 

Michael Russo

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#3
No experience yet can’t help but think it is crazy since it was installed next to your dedicated spot. Can’t see the minor holes in the building being such an issue.
To your point, I am afraid professional legal advice will be in order.

I will be in a similar situation for our Italian apartment under construction for which I asked the builder to plan the wiring to enable future installation of a T≡SLA HPWC next to my dedicated exterior parking spot. We don’t even have an HOA yet... Though in a different country, interested in following up on how your story unfolds...

Good luck to ya!
 

SoFlaModel3

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#4
I work in property management and technically speaking (though this will vary association to association and state to state), the board can issue a violation, potential fine, and ultimately the removal of the unapproved fixture. Lots of variables as to how far things can go though.
 

RandyS

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#5
What State are you in? If in California, Senate Bill 880 will be of interest...

The difficulty I usually see in Multi-unit dwelling installations is that house power (HOA) is usually closeby for lighting, landscaping, etc. but in most cases the resident can't wire to that source. It is usually much more difficult to get resident-metered power to the parking space...

http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201120120SB880
 

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#7
Sorry to hear that. I imagine as SoFlaModel3 says they probably can fine you and make you pay to remove it. Hopefully they settle down and avoid being punitive. Perhaps you could argue a fine would be better than making you remove it if they go that route. Good luck. I'm just about to try to get my install approved. I think they will but I'm afraid there is going to be a lot of battling with HOA's to install charging in general.
 

SoFlaModel3

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#8
Sorry to hear that. I imagine as SoFlaModel3 says they probably can fine you and make you pay to remove it. Hopefully they settle down and avoid being punitive. Perhaps you could argue a fine would be better than making you remove it if they go that route. Good luck. I'm just about to try to get my install approved. I think they will but I'm afraid there is going to be a lot of battling with HOA's to install charging in general.
If you go through proper channels on the approval process of an “alteration” or “architectural modification” then its unlikely you don’t get it through. Generally speaking your COA/HOA/POA will require a security deposit and that will insulate the association from any damages to common areas. They may also charge a review fee if they need to hire an engineer or other professional to vet the work. The only other question (mostly in the condo world) is going to be the metering of the charger to ensure it doesn’t become an expense to the rest of the membership.

Side note — some associations have language that allows them to remove additions and subsequently bill back the owner for that removal. Usually things don’t get that far and in my experience I’ve only seen that used to mow the lawn of unkempt homes as that minimal expense if unpaid at time of foreclosure still benefits overall proper values within the neighborhood.

Long story short, everyone that lives in an association should read their documents and follow all requirements before proceeding with any installations.
 

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#9
If you go through proper channels on the approval process of an “alteration” or “architectural modification” then its unlikely you don’t get it through. Generally speaking your COA/HOA/POA will require a security deposit and that will insulate the association from any damages to common areas. They may also charge a review fee if they need to hire an engineer or other professional to vet the work. The only other question (mostly in the condo world) is going to be the metering of the charger to ensure it doesn’t become an expense to the rest of the membership.

Side note — some associations have language that allows them to remove additions and subsequently bill back the owner for that removal. Usually things don’t get that far and in my experience I’ve only seen that used to mow the lawn of unkempt homes as that minimal expense if unpaid at time of foreclosure still benefits overall proper values within the neighborhood.

Long story short, everyone that lives in an association should read their documents and follow all requirements before proceeding with any installations.
I think the problem is going to be when you can't just add another outlet. We have 164 units in our building with an underground garage and I will be the second to install an outlet. I think only a couple more will be able to install an outlet before other upgrades are necessary. Then what happens? The building across the street is trying to come up with a scale-able solution which is good but they have been talking about it for months and months meanwhile no one can install an outlet. In the end I think its going to be expensive and may not get approved despite over half of the residents interested in EV's.
 

SoFlaModel3

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#10
I think the problem is going to be when you can't just add another outlet. We have 164 units in our building with an underground garage and I will be the second to install an outlet. I think only a couple more will be able to install an outlet before other upgrades are necessary. Then what happens? The building across the street is trying to come up with a scale-able solution which is good but they have been talking about it for months and months meanwhile no one can install an outlet. In the end I think its going to be expensive and may not get approved despite over half of the residents interested in EV's.
I agree and I definitely don’t know the answer. A building with valet parking that can shuffle the cars can be an answer though of course not call buildings have valet.
 

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#11
I live in an 8 unit condo building, each one owned by individual owners. I'm also the president of the HOA. In past HOA meetings I have brought up the fact that I'm planning on installing a Tesla charger in my dedicated parking spot in our condo garage. Nobody objected to it when I brought it up in the past.

Fast forward to taking delivery of my Model 3, I wanted to make sure that I had a charger installed in time for the car to arrive, so about a month ago I fast tracked an install and had an electrician come out and run the wiring from the panels on the outside of the building up to my parking spot about 100' away at the front of the garage. They ran the wiring on the outside of the building and then drilled a small hole through the concrete to reach my parking spot inside.

Other owners in the building are claiming that I abused my power as the president of the HOA by not getting approval to install the charger, and saying that I've caused damage to the building (one little hole in the concrete).

The tenants called an emergency meeting tonight to oust me as the president, force me to remove the charger, and repair the building. It cost me $1,800 to install the charger, who knows how much more it would cost to remove it - not to mention the inconvenience of not being able to charge at home.

I realize I was in the wrong for proceeding with an install/modification to the building without full approval, but understand that there are some laws in place to protect people who want to install an EV charger despite whatever bylaws exist for the HOA/condo association.

Anyone with experience in this arena willing to chime in on what the best way for me to proceed would be?
Wow! Sorry you’re having to go through this. Typically each condo unit is required to have its own electric meter so if you tap from your own meter that should be fine. So, if your unit is in the middle of the 8 unit group and you’re having to run a conduit from the meter to your parking space, and you’re drilling the hole on your own condo wall, then I don’t she what the fuss is about...unless the association specifically prohibits such drilling in the bylaws. The other option is to have the conduit directly buried (trench or bore). I guess you did not get the initial approval in writing right?
 
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#12
Wow! Sorry you’re having to go through this. Typically each condo unit is required to have its own electric meter so if you tap from your own meter that should be fine. So, if your unit is in the middle of the 8 unit group and you’re having to run a conduit from the meter to your parking space, and you’re drilling the hole on your own condo wall, then I don’t she what the fuss is about...unless the association specifically prohibits such drilling in the bylaws. The other option is to have the conduit directly buried (trench or bore). I guess you did not get the initial approval in writing right?
Yeah power is coming from my own meter and drilled a small hole through some concrete right near my parking spot. The problem is that I didn't get it in writing beforehand even though everyone in the building was aware that I was planning on installing a charger.
 

skygraff

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#13
I know it's too little too late but I was concerned similar objections would arise in my 4-unit condo association (of which we are all members of the board). My solution was to, over the course of the two years, get voted board approval to propose a membership vote (really, same four people) on three installation options and a fourth alternative: 1) outlet for just my spot, 2) outlets for each spot in the detached garage, 3) outlets for all four spots, (all wired to individual meters) or no outlets but, since existing garage outlets are on common meter, permission to use HOA power and develop a standard formula for increasing assessments for anyone charging an EV.

As the treasurer, I did my best to discourage the HOA alternative because it would be onerous for any future treasurer and rife with pitfalls for abuse and underpayment leading to HOA financial problems.

For the others, I offered to pay regardless and pointed out that our resale values may increase just by being able to say each deeded space is EV ready. They went for that option and affirmed it by vote so, even though the two-day install process inconvenienced them a bit (power was off for most of the first day - weekday when they weren't all home) and they grumbled about the yard trenching, they knew that it was all part of the agreement.

People will always find something to complain about and no HOA board member, especially the president, should ever make even the hint of a change to his or her unit, let alone the common elements, without full written consent obtained through the normal voting process (usually requiring board approval to present and sometimes up to two membership meetings to pass). The no objection path is considered sneaky and is dangerous to your neighborly existence. I hope your association will be forgiving and willing to compromise. Perhaps you'll have an opportunity to impress upon them the value of wiring every parking space (over time) for EVs and consider yours a pilot project; maybe the contractor will offer a bulk price. Don't forget to look at the Tesla produced multi-dwelling propaganda material for other ideas.

If you are somewhere where the laws support your efforts, get some legal help but, considering you didn't research that stuff beforehand, you might consider stepping down as president anyway. With all due respect, the president is supposed to know and enforce the bylaws as well as the condo act and any applicable state/local laws so, based on what you've described, you weren't acting in the best interest of the association or in a manner prescribed by your position.

Good luck and I hope they realize keeping the outlet is the best option for everyone.
 

PNWmisty

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#14
Anyone with experience in this arena willing to chime in on what the best way for me to proceed would be?
Wow! What small-minded people! Hard to fathom what's going through their heads. What city is this in?
That said, it was a major blunder on your part to do the work without formal approval. Big no-no. I suggest you offer to step down as President due to your lack of judgement and offer to fill the area around the conduit with a sealer and pay a fine to the HA of $600 for the unauthorized building modification.
 

Mistersandman

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#15
Out of curiosity what does the “damage to the building” look like? And was there a prior request for some other work to be done that was subsequently denied by you?

Unfortunately it does appear that you made a bad judgement especially as the HOA President who is expected to lead by example. Maybe they want to make an example out of you in this case. I think an apology is in order and hope that you can somehow make it up to them.
 

SoFlaModel3

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#18
The moral of this story: Don’t live somewhere governed by a HOA.
I don’t just say this because I work in the industry, but there are many positives to an HOA. A self-inflicted bad experience from not reading the rules you accepted when you bought the home isn’t a reason to not live in an HOA.
 

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#19
I live in an 8 unit condo building, each one owned by individual owners. I'm also the president of the HOA. In past HOA meetings I have brought up the fact that I'm planning on installing a Tesla charger in my dedicated parking spot in our condo garage. Nobody objected to it when I brought it up in the past.

Fast forward to taking delivery of my Model 3, I wanted to make sure that I had a charger installed in time for the car to arrive, so about a month ago I fast tracked an install and had an electrician come out and run the wiring from the panels on the outside of the building up to my parking spot about 100' away at the front of the garage. They ran the wiring on the outside of the building and then drilled a small hole through the concrete to reach my parking spot inside.

Other owners in the building are claiming that I abused my power as the president of the HOA by not getting approval to install the charger, and saying that I've caused damage to the building (one little hole in the concrete).

The tenants called an emergency meeting tonight to oust me as the president, force me to remove the charger, and repair the building. It cost me $1,800 to install the charger, who knows how much more it would cost to remove it - not to mention the inconvenience of not being able to charge at home.

I realize I was in the wrong for proceeding with an install/modification to the building without full approval, but understand that there are some laws in place to protect people who want to install an EV charger despite whatever bylaws exist for the HOA/condo association.

Anyone with experience in this arena willing to chime in on what the best way for me to proceed would be?


What state are you in? Were you removed as President? You only have 8 owners. Do you have a management company that help you as a board with issues? The most prudent solution would be a fine, as you must have had procedures in place for alteration of the common areas. i don't think your in trouble for what you did. I think you are in trouble with them as how you did it. I had a similar issue in Florida with changing my exterior windows of a beach front condo unit on the 8th floor in the 81 owner community. I used the same window manufacturer as the association had used the year prior with the same installer. I had phoned all members of the board before doing my order all agreed it would be ok for me to do it. however when I did it, I did not wait to receive it in writing and they gave me a $1,500 fine for not waiting for the official letter of approval. What a welcome to the building that was. I appealed the decision and they reduced it to $750, and I continued with my life. I hate all the owners in the building and I seldom go there since they did this to me. I rent it out almost year around. The median age in the building is 75 and I was the 40 Year old new owner who dared to buy there. Moral of the story is. Just play the game and stay away from community living. A mans home should be his castle and not theirs.
 

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#20
What state are you in? Were you removed as President? You only have 8 owners. Do you have a management company that help you as a board with issues? The most prudent solution would be a fine, as you must have had procedures in place for alteration of the common areas. i don't think your in trouble for what you did. I think you are in trouble with them as how you did it. I had a similar issue in Florida with changing my exterior windows of a beach front condo unit on the 8th floor in the 81 owner community. I used the same window manufacturer as the association had used the year prior with the same installer. I had phoned all members of the board before doing my order all agreed it would be ok for me to do it. however when I did it, I did not wait to receive it in writing and they gave me a $1,500 fine for not waiting for the official letter of approval. What a welcome to the building that was. I appealed the decision and they reduced it to $750, and I continued with my life. I hate all the owners in the building and I seldom go there since they did this to me. I rent it out almost year around. The median age in the building is 75 and I was the 40 Year old new owner who dared to buy there. Moral of the story is. Just play the game and stay away from community living. A mans home should be his castle and not theirs.
The only thing here that I have to disagree with this (and it’s primarily because I work in the industry and see this stuff daily / build software to help improve this experience) is when you say “they did it to you”. They didn’t do anything to you.

Now here’s that part I agree with though. You’re right, a lot of people that live in associations absolutely do not belong there. As part of moving in, you have agreed to the rules and regulations which means no one can do anything to you that you didn’t essentially do to yourself. That said, most do not read those rules and regulations and they get violation letters and then think the sky is falling and everyone is out to get them.

HOAs and Condos are not for everyone, but they serve a purpose by helping maintain uniformity, property values, and deliverable services you couldn’t otherwise get.

Ignorance is no excuse in my opinion.