Author : Mary-Anne Bowring
Have any of the flat owners in your block got an electric car? If not, chances are they soon will. The government has announced a ban on new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040 to combat air pollution. At the moment the market for electric cars is still relatively small, but around 4,500 are being registered every month, so take-up is growing.
Charging points for electric cars are starting to be a familiar sight at supermarkets and petrol stations. In future more of us will want to charge an electric car at home but if you live in a flat this could prove a challenge. Developers are starting to install charging points in new blocks as standard but block managers running existing developments will need to do their homework as demand from residents starts to take off. A recent article in Flat Living took a look at the implications for people living in blocks of flats. The starting point is the lease. Residents are likely to need a license to alter from the landlord to install a charging point or points. Formal, written consent will cost around £650, which will need to be covered by the resident/s in question - assuming the landlord is happy to oblige.
Location of charging points and fair use of electricity supply also needs some thought. Some flat owners may have an allocated parking space or garage but the electric supply to that parking space is unlikely to be connected to their own electricity meter. Most leases allow for use of parking spaces without ownership. Again, this means tapping into the communal supply that is covered by the service charge. If only a handful of residents are benefitting from the electricity that is being used, this will likely be called out for being unfair. Again, it may not be possible under the terms of the lease.
The good news is that charging technology is developing fast. There are now options on the market that could help get around these problems.
Pay-as-you-go solutions using a cloud-based mobile app, mean that electricity use can be monitored and logged. Flat owners could use this system to pay their costs back to the block on a monthly basis, so that residents not using charging points don't end up subsidising those that do. The other hurdle - installation costs - may also be partly covered by a government-subsidised grant from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). This could offer up to £500 off the cost of purchasing and installing a home charging point using a registered installer, listed here.
Once upon a time, take-up of satellite TV and broadband installation in residential blocks raised similar issues. Now, whether you live in a house or a flat, most of us expect them as standard. Block managers should be prepared to deal with the questions that will be asked by residents about installing charging points, in 10 years time they will be standard too. If you have questions regarding your lease, about what can be recovered via service charges or would like to discuss a license to alter, contact Ringley Law.
Mary-Anne Bowring FIRPM FRICS FARLA FCABE Founder/Head of Asset Management
Strategic partnerships, holistic delivery/ opportunities, growth, value engineering, thought leadership
Ian Barber MD BTR Mobilisation & Leasing
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