A recent ruling by the supervisor of the Israel Land Registration addresses, inter alia, the installation of an EV charging station in the car park of a condominium building.
The general meeting of a condominium building’s tenants is responsible for passing decisions about the use of common property in a condominium. A draft bill is currently pending, which would require the consent of a special majority of two-thirds of apartment owners to install an EV charging station in a common car park. However, today, the installation of such charging stations is subject to the condominium’s regulations.
Agreed Regulations versus Standard Regulations
If apartment owners in a condominium building have not drafted specific provisions as “agreed regulations,” then the standard regulations will apply. These prescribe, inter alia, that no apartment owner may make any modifications in his apartment or repairs that damage, jeopardize, or depreciate the value of the common property, unless he receives the consent of the general meeting of apartment owners.
However, an apartment owner may make modifications and use common areas without needing the consent of the rest of the apartment owners, if:
1. Such use constitutes reasonable use.
2. The use does not infringe on the rights of the rest of the apartment owners to make similar reasonable use thereof.
In the case at hand, an apartment owner in a condominium building installed a private electric charging station in her parking space. She did so without the consent of the other apartment owners. This required performing work in the common property for the purpose of the installation. The condominium building representative filed a motion for a mandatory injunction against the owner, ordering her to dismantle the private charging station, pay the damages caused, and restore the condition to its previous status quo.
The representative claimed the installation of the charging station poses a hazard to all the apartment owners, to the common property, to the car park, and to the vehicles parked in it. The representative also claimed the installation was executed without the consent and approval of the apartment owners and that therefore it constitutes a violation of the condominium building’s regulations.
During the hearing, the court appointed an agreed expert to examine if the installation posed a hazard and to determine what actions are necessary to eliminate the hazard if any.
The apartment owner’s actions violated the law and do not constitute a reasonable action or reasonable use of the common property, for the following reasons:
1. The apartment owner took unilateral action without obtaining the consent of the general meeting as is required pursuant to the condominium building’s regulations.
2. The apartment owner’s installation of the charging station left openings in the ceiling of the car park, which she failed to properly repair. Therefore, her actions constitute a prohibited change in the common property, because such change could jeopardize the common property.
3. The apartment owner performed the electricity connection in violation of the provisions of the Electricity Law. Thus, this does not constitute a reasonable action.
4. Other apartment owners in the condominium building cannot make a similar connection. Therefore, the apartment owner’s action violates the law, which prescribes that reasonable use of common property cannot be use that prevents other apartment owners from making similar use.
Notwithstanding these determinations, the supervisor ruled that as long as electric charging infrastructure had not yet been installed for all the apartment owners, the apartment owner should be allowed to retain the charging station. However, she must connect to the public power grid (that the common property uses) with a separate electricity meter, instead of the private connection to her apartment, in conformity with the Electricity Law.