Are You Planning to Install On-Site Chargers for Your Tenants’ Electric Vehicles?


Charging stationGiven the widespread popularity of the new electric vehicles, tenants will undoubtedly be looking for ways to refuel at home. With all of the considerations that go into this decision, it certainly is time to review your options and devise a plan for EV Charging Stations on your rental site.

As tenants transfer their auto fuel costs to their electric bill, questions arise over how to meter or offset the cost of charger usage, how to protect the stations from unauthorized use, how to prevent on-site accidents, how to offset the installation costs with tax deductions or incentive programs, and the affect on the property’s appearance.

First, it’s important to understand the different charger types:

Conductive chargers are basically plugs that send electricity directly to the car.

Inductive chargers work through paddles that transfer power via a magnetic field.

There’s a split of authority as to which charger system will become dominant. But the City of Santa Monica suggests you start planning for the station anyway, because the site evaluation and mechanics are quite similar for either style of charger. You will have to dedicate enough space for a charger, it’s base, and protective wheel stops, consider the lighting, and adjust ventilation if you will install the chargers inside a garage or covered structure. Outside, you may need to build protection from weather. The City suggest that you should offer 1 station for every 20 on-site parking stalls. However, local building codes will impact your installation plan.

If you really want to ˜go for the green, take a look at the City’s fully solar-powered charging station, compliments of

In California, SMUD is offering assistance with the planning and installation of charging stations. SMUD will conduct a site inspection and

  • Show you the best location for the system.
  • Provide a cost estimate.
  • Perform the installation.
  • Coordinate with the building department.
  • Offer a warranty service.

SMUD, like many utilities, offers off-peak charging discounts.

The Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources has developed a step-by-step handbook for installing chargers, including a handy flow chart specifically for apartment owners:

Step One

  • Decide on the number of chargers required.
  • Determine if you can meter usage.
  • Is current ventilation adequate?
  • Are there special space considerations?
  • Investigate building code requirements and costs for permits.
  • Investigate the rate impact.
  • Determine if current service is adequate.
  • Discover off-peak rates or other discounts.
  • Explore insurance ramifications.
  • Do you qualify for tax write-offs?

Step Two

  • Find a contractor.

Step Three

  • Have contractor evaluate the site and draw up proposal to include any upgrades or code requirements such as ventilation.

Step Four

  • Apply for permits

Step Five

  • Complete the installation

Step Six

  • Inspection

Many chargers are portable, so an alternative for landlords is to build a station, and allow tenants to supply their own charger unit.

Check out our other recent green features: Green Flooring Adds Value, Not Allergens, and Landlords: Are Your Tenants Washing Away Energy Savings?

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services related to your commercial housing investment, including tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at

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