Law Does Not Require Recording Rules

Owners May Install EV Charging Stations

Q: I recently moved into a condominium that provides electrical outlets at each parking space, and I have been using one of these outlets to charge my plug-in hybrid car. The board informed me that I am not allowed to use the outlet because it is considered a common area, and they do not want to cover the cost of charging my car. Installing a separate meter would be very expensive, costing me thousands of dollars. How can I address this issue with the association? (L.S., via e‑mail)

A: Section 718.113(8) was first added to the Florida Condominium Act in 2018. While there may be room to debate the retroactive reach of the statute in some circumstances, the law states that a condominium declaration cannot prohibit unit owners from installing electric vehicle charging stations in their designated parking areas.

However, such installations must not cause irreparable damage to the condominium property, and the electricity must be separately metered and paid for by the unit owner or their successor. Unit owners who install, maintain, or remove these stations must comply with all applicable federal, state, or local laws and regulations.

The law also states that the association may require compliance with bona fide safety requirements and reasonable architectural standards concerning the dimensions, placement, or appearance of the stations, provided these standards do not prohibit the installation or significantly increase the cost. Additionally, the unit owner may be required to hire a licensed firm for installation or removal, provide an insurance certificate naming the association as an additional insured, and reimburse the association for any increased insurance premiums within 14 days of receiving the invoice.

Regarding your question, the statute provides that electricity for charging vehicles to be separately metered and paid for by the unit owner, subject to any requirements of the association that are compliant with the statute.

Q: My homeowners’ association is demanding that I replace my seawall. What is the legal status of seawalls, and am I obligated to replace it if it is not mentioned in my deed restrictions? (M.M., via e-mail)

A: The answer to your question will depend exactly on how the “lots” are defined in your community (usually shown on the plats and in surveys) and how the declaration of covenants addresses the issue. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, the most common scenario is that the seawall is part of the “lot” and a maintenance requirement of the owner, not the homeowners’ association.

For example, I am aware of a 2021 trial court case in Monroe County, Florida (the Florida Keys) where the judge ruled that the cost of maintaining, repairing, and replacing the seawall benefiting the lots was not a common expense of the homeowners’ association. Instead, each lot owner was responsible for the maintenance and repair costs for the section of the seawall within their respective lot boundary.

If the seawall is part of your “lot” and you are required to maintain the lot per the deed restrictions, this responsibility may well lie with you. Whether any repair short of replacement would suffice depends on the circumstances. You would be wise to retain an attorney to review the matter on your behalf.

Q: We recently received a gift from the owner of a management company that is interested in working with our condominium association. Is this proper? (R.S., via e-mail)

A: Section 718.111(1)(a) of the Florida Condominium Act expressly prohibits officers, directors, or managers from receiving any items or services of value from persons providing or proposing to provide services to the association.

Effective July 1, 2024, the law will provide enhanced penalties for accepting “kick-backs.” I suggest you promptly return the gift with an accompanying letter stating that you are doing so and retain a photograph of the returned item.

Joe Adams is an attorney with Becker & Poliakoff, P.A., Fort Myers. Send questions to Joe Adams by e-mail to jadams@beckerlawyers.com. Past editions may be viewed at floridacondohoalawblog.com.

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