By Attorney John C. Goede
Q. An owner in our condominium has requested permission to install an electric vehicle charging station in his parking space. We reviewed the law and have several questions about this.
A: I have broken out your questions and answered each one separately.
1. For Condominiums F.S. 718.113 (8) requires the Owners charging station to be “Separately Metered”. What does this mean?
A meter that will measure the amount of electricity used by the charging station independent of the Association’s main meter so the owner can be billed for the actual use.
2. What amount of “increased liability” insurance is sufficient for this?
You should consult your insurance agent on this question. You may not need additional coverage. But if your agent says that your regular premium will be increased because of the charging station then you “may” pass that increased premium cost on to the owner.
3. Does the association need to increase any insurance for this to happen on the property? What if the association puts up metered charging stations for owners / guests?
Consult your insurance agent on this point. The Association can install common element charging stations with a Board vote. Your agent should be able to tell you if that will increase your premium or require additional coverage.
4. What is the associations liability if a guest or trespasser trips and falls over cord to charge the vehicle?
The Association may require the owner installing the charging station to “Provide a certificate of insurance naming the association as an additional insured on the owner’s insurance policy for any claim related to the installation, maintenance, or use of the electric vehicle charging station or natural gas fuel station within 14 days after receiving the association’s approval to install such charging or fuel station or notice to provide such a certificate.”
In my experience getting an insurance carrier to name the Association as an additional insured is easier said than done so if they won’t do it, you could make the Owner indemnify the Association for liability.
5. Are you aware of ANY other issues or problems we need to be aware of or address with this issue?
The biggest issue I have heard of is that the current electrical infrastructure and capacity of the lines and equipment for the Condominium are not sufficient to support charging stations. This is a key issue, and you should require the Owner to prove the Association’s system can handle the load and then verify that with your own electrician.
Q. Our HOA Declaration prohibits “signs, banners, advertisements and posters from being exhibited, displayed, inscribed, painted, or affixed, in, on, or upon any part of the Properties without prior ARC approval. It also provides that this prohibition includes “signs inside of Living Unit windows or the windows of motor vehicles.” One owner has two large political flags on his truck and many owners are upset. Can these flags be prohibited based on the current restriction?
A: No. The restriction you quoted lists the prohibited items. The list does not include flags. Therefor the Latin legal principle expressio unius est exclusio alterius applies. This is a principle of statutory construction that means when one or more things of a class are expressly mentioned others of the same class are excluded. So, because the list does not include “flags”, flags are not prohibited. Often times lists like this are proceeded with the phrase “including but not limited to . . . ” This phrase means the list is not exhaustive and other things in the same class may also be prohibited but in your case the restriction does not contain this caveat.
Q. Do standing committees have to post notices of any meeting they have where a quorum is present to discuss business and allow owners to attend and speak like at Board meetings?
A: It depends on whether it is a Condominium, Cooperative or HOA, what type of committee it is and what the Bylaws for the Association provide. Below I will explain.
The Condominium Act (F.S. 718) and Cooperative Act (F.S. 719) provide that ALL committees must meet like a Board of Directors (notice, members can attend etc.) UNLESS the Bylaws exclude committees from meeting like a Board. The only exception are committees that take final action on behalf of the Board or make budget recommendations which always have to meet like a Board regardless of what the Bylaws provide. So, unless the Condominium or Cooperative Bylaws exclude committees from meeting like a Board, by default, all committees must do so.
Alternatively, the HOA Act (F.S. 720) provides the same thing but in reverse. The HOA Act provides that all committees DO NOT have to meet like a Board (except committees that have the authority to take final action or ARC committees) UNLESS the Bylaws provide affirmatively that all committees must meet like the Board. So, UNLESS your HOA Bylaws provide that committees must meet like the Board, by default committees do not have to do so