Can I have an electric vehicle charger if I live in a flat?

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By Alan Draper | Oct 2023

This is possibly the number one question that property managers of blocks of flats dread as there is NEVER an easy answer.

The scope of this article is to provide leaseholders and leasehold property managers with three very basic questions which will go a long way towards determining if installation of an EV charger is possible.

  1. Would the freeholder be agreeable “in principle” to such a request?
    Many freeholders will deny or ignore such requests as there are so many potential pitfalls both for the freeholder and leaseholder. The freeholder is as bound by the covenants of the lease as the leaseholder and this was demonstrated in Duval vs 11-13 Randolph Crescent where the freeholder illegally approved alterations to a demise despite the lease containing an absolute covenant preventing alterations. This ruling has made freeholders much more cautious.
    Some may refer to lease clauses providing an existing right to receive an uninterrupted supply of electricity etc. through service installations but these don’t usually extend to receiving such services through new service installations: see Trailfinders v Razuki and Yeong v Potel.
    Finally, as the installation of any EV charger will usually involve running cables over communal land, the freeholder is within their rights to deny permission to do this. Unlike demised premises, there is no compulsion on the freeholder to grant such permissions for improvements or upgrades (see Tideway Investment and Holdings v Wellwood).
    So when it comes to running new cables through non-demised land, check that the freeholder has no objections.
    The onus will be very much on the leaseholder making the request to demonstrate to the freeholder that the planned electric vehicle charger complies with the covenants of the lease(s).
  2. Do you have an allocated or demised parking space?
    If not, it is unlikely you will be given permission to install a charger if you have no rights to the land upon which your electric vehicle will need to be parked to use the charger.
  3. Do you have an electricity supply to tap into?
    In an ideal world, this supply would be linked to your flat, but car parking spaces are more often than not too far away from the flat’s electricity supply to be viable. Even if it was close to your space, you’ll need to have enough room to install a separate 32 AMP spur off your own supply. You’ll also need to check that there is enough space to be able to install the EV charger safely. If this isn’t your own supply, is there a communal supply close by? If you use a communal supply, you will also need to get a meter installed such that the costs of the electricity you use can be recovered by the freeholder.

The above three considerations represent a starting point but each case will be different and there will be other considerations but the above represents the biggest issues that leaseholders will need to solve.

EV Solutions Group have written a very useful guide to leaseholders seeking to install electric vehicle chargers.

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