With more than 1.18 million electric vehicles (“EV”) on American roads today, EV charging is quickly becoming a desirable rental housing amenity. Predictably, most EV owners charge their vehicles at home. Whilst tenants renting single-family homes can easily install a personal EV charging station, tenants in apartment buildings traditionally faced obstacles preventing them from equipping parking spaces with charging stations. Additionally, apartment owners routinely exhibited widespread initial resistance to providing EV charging stations. To circumvent the impediments to EV charging installation, the California Legislature passed AB 2565 in 2014. Codified at California Civil Code section 1947.6, the new law creates a procedure requiring landlords to accept tenants lawful written requests to install EV charging stations and their related infrastructure. Today, California tenants have the right to install equipment to charge their electric cars.

Which Tenancies Are Covered by the EV Charging Station Law?

California’s EV charging station law does not cover every tenancy. Instead, the law covers tenancies created, extended, or renewed on or after July 1, 2015. Civil Code § 1947.6(a). Further, California’s charging station law does not apply to properties where:

  1. Landlords have installed EV charging stations in at least 10% of the designated parking spaces;
  2. Tenants are not provided parking in their lease agreement;
  3. There are fewer than five parking spaces;
  4. The unit is covered by a local rent control ordinance and a local EV charging station ordinance that was adopted on or before January 1, 2018, such as the West Hollywood EV Charging Stations Ordinance. West Hollywood Municipal Code Ch. 17.58.

When initially passed, California’s EV charging law contained a blanket exemption for all units covered by a local rent control ordinance. However, lawmakers subsequently phased out the provision exempting rent controlled units not also covered by a local EV charging station ordinance. Tenants in rent controlled units with leases executed, extended, or renewed on or after January 1, 2019, are no longer exempt from coverage under California’s EV charging station law.

Are Landlords Required to Approve Written Requests for EV Charging Stations?

Yes. Under California’s EV charging station law, covered tenancies have a right to install EV charging stations. The landlord does not have a choice. The law is clear. The landlord must accept a written request to install an EV charging station at the tenant’s designated parking space. Civil Code
1947.6(a), (b).

Although tenants have a right to install EV charging stations, the EV charging station must comply with all applicable lease terms, must comply with the landlord’s reasonable standards regarding installation and use, and must comply with all legal requirements.

What Should Tenants Include When Requesting an EV Charging Stations?

While the tenants need not include any magic words or phrases when making written requests to install EV charging stations, their request, minimally, should indicate their intention to install an EV charging station and its related infrastructure. Additionally, California’s EV Charging Station law requires tenants to give consent to enter into a written agreement with landlords concerning the installation of the charging station.

The EV Charging Station law specifies the agreement provisions tenants must be willing to agree. These provisions include:

  1. Willingness to comply with landlord requirements for charging station installation, use, maintenance, and removal;
  2. Willingness to provide complete documents showing the cost and scope of work to install the EV charging station and its infrastructure;
  3. A written description of how, when, and where proposed modifications and improvements to the property will occur (For reference see the Permitting Checklist in the Zero-Emission Vehicles in California: Community Readiness Guidebook);
  4. Willingness to pay all landlord costs associated with the installation of the EV charging station and infrastructure, before work commences;
  5. Willingness to pay, as part of rent, the electrical costs associated with the EV charging station; and,
  6. Willingness to pay cost for damage, maintenance, repair, removal, and replacement of the EV charging station. Civil Code § 1947.6(g).

Do Tenants Need to Carry Insurance to Install an EV Charging Station at a Rental Property?

Yes, California’s EV Charging Station Law requires tenants to obtain personal liability insurance coverage to cover property damage and personal injury caused by the EV charging station. Civil Code § 1947.6(h). With policy limits not to exceed ten times annual rent for the unit, the policy must remain in full force and effect so long as the EV charging station exists or until the tenant vacates. Id.

However, tenants do not need to obtain insurance if:

  1. The EV charging station was certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory, as approved by OSHA; and,
  2. A licensed electrician performed the EV charging station and related electrical work.

Does California’s EV Charging Station Law Apply to Tenants Without a Dedicated Parking Space?

Yes. The EV charging law applies to covered tenancies, even where tenants do not have a designated parking space. However, landlords can impose a fee on tenants if the EV charging station provides the tenant with a dedicated parking space. Civil Code § 1947.6(e).

Does California’s EV Charging Station Law Apply to Tenants Without Parking?

No, California’s EV Charging Station Law does not apply to tenancies where parking is not provided in the lease agreement. Civil Code § 1947.6(b)(2).