Commercial Tenants – Ready? Set? Charge! (Your Electric Vehicle, That Is)
Commercial Tenants Have Rights Regarding Charging EVs at Work
Whether you manage a fleet of Electric Vehicles (EV) for the company or have employees who want to give their electric vehicles a charge during the workday, there will soon be a need for EV charging stations at the commercial property that you lease.
You’ll be happy to know that, when it comes to the installation of EV charging stations, the law is on the side of the commercial tenant!
While many states are currently enacting laws of their own, California already has a well-established civil code for the installation of EV charging stations on commercial property.
For commercial leases executed, renewed, or extended after January 1, 2015, a landlord may not prohibit or unreasonably restrict the installation or use of an electric vehicle charging station in a parking space on the property. Any lease provision that conflicts with this prohibition is void and unenforceable (California Civ. Code § 1952.7.)
Not surprisingly, some property owners may balk at having to accommodate this EV charging station law and even attempt to turn the requests to install and the installation process of installing an EV charging station into a real headache.
Well, they won’t get very far. The law very clearly states that a commercial landlord may not impose anything beyond reasonable restrictions when it comes to choosing a location for the EV charging station or stations. Any restrictions they impose “may not significantly increase the cost of the electric vehicle charging station or its installation, or significantly decrease the charging station’s efficiency or specified performance.”
As long as there are more than 50 parking spaces on site and there is a minimal (or no) amount of EV charging stations on site, the landlord may not, by law, prohibit a commercial tenant from installing an EV charging station on the commercial property site.
However, a tenant may not install charging stations at more parking spots than are allotted in the lease. In other words, if your commercial lease includes five spots for your employees’ use, you may not install more than five EV charging stations. Also, the landlord is allowed to charge a monthly rental fee if your lease doesn’t specify how many parking spaces are allotted to your company and written into the commercial lease.
Does a Tenant Have to Ask Permission?
Great question, and one that should be easy to answer, after careful examination of your commercial lease. In some instances, tenants are permitted to make some modifications or enhancements to the exterior of a building, but this isn’t always the case.
If a tenant requests approval for the installation of an EV charging station, the application for approval must not be willfully avoided or delayed by the landlord. Your request for approval should be in writing. And, in turn, the landlord must provide the approval or denial in writing.
Commercial Tenants also have responsibilities when it comes to the installation of an EV charging on the property of the leased space, including:
- Complying with the landlord’s “reasonable” standards for installation
- Engaging a licensed contractor to install the charging station; and
- Providing a certificate of insurance naming the landlord as an additional insured under the tenant’s insurance policy in the amount of $1,000,000 within 14 days of landlord’s approval for the installation of the EV charging station
Additionally, tenants are responsible for:
- Costs for damage to property and the charging station resulting from the installation, maintenance, repair, removal or replacement of the charging station
- Costs for maintenance, repair and replacement of the charging station: and
- Costs of electricity associated with the charging station
Finally, it’s the tenant’s responsibility to make sure that all charging stations meet applicable health and safety standards and requirements imposed by applicable state and local authorities, including zoning, land use or other ordinance or land use permit requirements.
Let’s Get Back to the Part About Paying for Electricity
More than likely, your landlord’s first question will be about how the electricity consumed at an EV charging station on their commercial property will be paid for and we have the answer to that question.
It’s completely understandable that the landlord of a commercial building wouldn’t want to pay for tenants’ electricity. On the other hand, you, as the requesting tenant, don’t want to worry about anyone else charging up and making it look like you are hiking up the electric bill.
The answer to this problem is ShinePay. When the EV charging station is installed, the cashless ShinePay system can be installed, too. If you already have an EV charging station installed, ShinePay can be added to simplify payment now.
The EV owner downloads the free ShinePay app onto a smartphone and sets up an account. The ShinePay account is linked to a credit card. (If this is a shared EV charging station, anyone who wants to charge up will need to create a ShinePay app and link it to their own credit card.)
When it’s time to charge an EV, the owner opens the ShinePay app on their phone, scans the QR code on the ShinePay device at the EV charging station and electricity flows. Each person’s credit card will be billed for the electricity used.
The landlord has access to a dashboard on the ShinePay app where they will be able to check usage and easily move accrued funds into their bank account, to cover the electric bill when it comes due.
This is a particularly good solution when the EV charging station will be used by multiple EV owners in non-reserved parking spots. If your leased property already has EV charging stations in place, ask to have ShinePay installed, to assure the landlord has a streamlined process for paying in place.
If you share the parking lot or parking garage with other tenants, it makes the most sense for the landlord to install and own the EV charging stations, so that all tenants have equal access to them. If your landlord does not want to be involved in the installation, but has given a tenant permission to do so, they can use ShinePay’s Access Control capability. This feature makes the EV charging station accessible only to those who have been granted permission to use it.