In November 2020, the government announced that it was bringing forward it’s ban on the sales of petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040 to 2030. The upshot is that the electric vehicle revolution will gain pace and that deadline could leave many leaseholders without access to their own EV charging point.
Electrical vehicle (EV) chargers – Freehold property vs Leasehold property
By in large, the process of installing EV’s on freehold properties is straightforward. Usually, the process of adding an EV to an existing household circuit is straight forward. Logistical planning can usually be done remotely using technologies such as Google Street View, photograph’s of existing fuse boards/electricity meters and land registry plans. Many installers of EV chargers also assist in the acquisition of government grants. I purchased an electric vehicle in March 2021 and the entire process of getting the home electrical vehicle charging point installed from start to finish including the government grant application took less than a month.
The situation with leasehold properties is somewhat more complicated and this article explores the barriers that all Resident Management Companies and Landlords will need to consider before being able to adopt and use EV technology
- Legal restrictions
As a leaseholder, you effectively own a rental agreement rather than bricks and mortar. As such, there are greater restrictions on what you can and can’t do and you will almost certainly require the permission of the freeholder to be able to install an EV charging point.
Additionally, your lease may not allow for the installation of additional facilities at your estate so a variation to your lease may be required.
As with everything leasehold, the starting point should be to READ YOUR LEASE to assess the legal obstacles to obtaining an EV charging point;
- Physical Restrictions
In a freehold property, even if the electric meter is situated some distance from where the EV charger will be sited, as the land over which any cables will be laid would usually be under the same ownership, then the only major physical barrier to installing an EV point will be the cabling and groundworks required to bury the cable.
With leasehold properties, more often than not, the electric meter for the property will be situated some distance from the flats car parking space and any cabling would have to be run through communal land i.e. land not under the ownership of the leaseholder. Again, permissions to do this would need to be sought from the freeholder.
Finally, as car parks at leasehold properties are often tight and congested, there may be difficulties in being able to find a suitable space for an EV charger.
- Cost restrictions
This is particularly salient for larger developments as the costs could mount up and could include the following:
- Costs of amending leases
- Costs of obtaining the requisite permissions from the landlord
- Costs of running cabling from your electric meter to the car parking space
Leaseholder choice vs Costs
Electricity suppliers are already trying to win customers by providing lower rates per kilowatt hour for charging electric vehicles (especially overnight). We have already explored the costs that leaseholders may accrue in trying to obtain an EV charger so the obvious way to try to reduce the cost per leaseholder would be the installation of a communal EV charging system thereby benefiting from economies of scale.
The various types of solutions available are dealt with in a separate article here, however, the downside to such a system is a possible loss of choice to the individual leaseholder.
At present, current choices available to purchasers of EV charging systems are
- Choice of EV charger.
- Choice of power rating of the EV charger.
- Choice of electricity supplier.
Under a communal system, some are all of these choices may be restricted.
On larger developments which could have a high power demand, it may also be necessary to liaise with the National Grid as local transformers may not be able to carry the load required to provide a communal EV charging infrastructure. Some providers of communal electrical charging facilities do provide load balancing solution, however, the downside to this is that it will take longer to charge vehicles during times of peak demand.
For a more comprehensive view of all the issues raised above, we recommend reading Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure in Communal Living Environments published by the Institute of Residential Property Management in May 2022. You can obtain a copy from https://www.irpm.org.uk/news-articles/irpm-think-piece-ev-charging-infrastructure/
If you are considering installing an electric vehicle charger at a leasehold development, we recommend contacting EV Solutions Group, specialists in retro-fitting EV infrastructure into leasehold developments. Please visit evsolutuionsgroup.co.uk for further information.