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Colorado HOA laws and using a 120 volt plug in parking garage

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by ualbandit, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. ualbandit

    ualbandit Member

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    This weekend we purchased a ski condo in Avon, Colorado. While up there this weekend, we naturally plugged in my Model S into a 120 volt standard plug in the parking garage to charge. It was a corner parking spot in a nearly empty garage. I got a letter from the President of the HOA today stating, among other things:

    It was brought to our attention over the weekend that a common electrical outlet in the Ascent garage was utilized to charge an electric vehicle owned by you or one of your guests. Unfortunately, that is not permissible. The outlets in the common areas are a community expense shared among all owners. In addition, these outlets have not been tested to determine if they can handle the power required by an electric vehicle in consideration of other common needs in this area. This is from both a safety and power overload perspective.

    The President also brought up that Colorado law permits residents in an HOA to try to install an EV charger, but that is not my concern. I just want to plug in at an available 120 outlet in the garage if one happens to be available. There is no mention in the HOA documents about common area outlets or community expense issues. I am sure the outlets in the garage in a building that was finished in 2011 are fine for electric vehicle charging, as are any outlets anywhere in the country that meet code. I may try to get an EV charger installed with a Colorado government grant, but the President insists that it must be outside, in the cold, in the mountains in Colorado, instead of in the heated parking garage.

    Any thoughts on how to approach the HOA board to have them stop hassling me for plugging into the 120 plug when it is available?
     
  2. ApauloThirteen

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    #2 ApauloThirteen, Oct 11, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2016
    Politely eliminate their concerns one by one.

    1) Frequency. I assume you don't charge v often. Point that out.
    2) Cost. You can find the going kWH rate and offer to reimburse the association or donate that amount to a charity.
    3) Safety. You're right - they should be up to code. You can point out the max amp draw your car is drawing and pull up the local code to indicate it's well within the boundaries.
    4) Temp solution; Permanent path forward. You can note that you are in the process of trying to get a EV level 2 charger installed but the plug should work fine in the interim.
    5) Bring up Tesla site/docs where the car is designed and can handle charging via level 1. It might be fear based on lack of knowledge about EVs.
    6) Recruit other EV / EV friendly folk in the association and start a petition.
    7) I read in FL one person was banned from bringing his dog to a condo building. So he eventually bought the majority of condos and changed the rule. Inguz. Where there's a will, there's a way.
    8) The best solution is the one where the person (who is objecting) thinks it was her/his own. So if you can angle it that way, it's always a beautiful thing when that plan comes together.

    Good luck, keep us posted please!
     
    • Like x 1
  3. DOCAL

    DOCAL Member

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    One legitimate concern might be how many other outlets are on the same circuit.
    You'd need to know what the circuit breaker is rated at, but assuming it's a 20 amp breaker and you're pulling 12 amps continuous, that only leaves around 4 amps for someone to plug in other things.

    If you're going to be there a long time, and they want to be co-operative, you could agree to limit your charge rate to much lower.
     
    • Like x 2
  4. ualbandit

    ualbandit Member

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    It is one of only two outlets in the parking garage, so there are a total of 4 plugs for people to use, 2 plugs per outlet. Only one outlet is convenient for charging, as the other outlet is near the entrance and would require draping extension cords across walking areas to access a parking spot. There are about 60 total parking spots in the garage for the 59 condos, and I think I am the only EV there as far as I know. Can't imagine I am creating an inconvenience for other guests with occasional use, and only when the nearby parking spots happen to be open. I will have to find out what the amp rating is for that circuit, but is is safe to assume that 20 amps would be normal for 2011 construction in Colorado?
     
  5. DOCAL

    DOCAL Member

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    You're probably not creating an inconvenience, they're probably just being over cautious, and don't understand EVs, or are afraid of setting a precedent. However, if you want to try and talk to them, then the points made by ApauloThirteen seem like a good start.

    I don't know what the breaker would be, but there could be more than just those 4 sockets on it. Are there lights in the garage? I've no idea if the code would allow for that or not.
     
  6. davewill

    davewill Member

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    Whatever you do, don't suggest that you have a right to plug in because I'm fairly certain you do not.
     
    • Helpful x 1
  7. Barry

    Barry Member

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    I have a ski condo at Keystone. All utilities are part of the monthly HOA fee. Parking spots are not reserved. I asked the HOA if they could mark one of the parking spots with a 110 VAC outlet, and they went above and beyond. They asked me for Tesla specs and installed a NEMA 14-50 at HOA expense and put up a sign "EV charging only."

    Do you pay for electricity in your condo or is it lumped into your HOA fee?
    If the latter, the cost excuse doesn't make sense. If the former, I can see their point.

    I installed a NEMA 14-50 outlet in my Denver-area condo at my expense. After the usual HOA BS, it was no problem, with me paying for installation and electricity.

    If worse comes to worse, you can stop at Silverthorne on your way up. Five minutes at the SC will give you the same bump as an overnight charge at 110.
     
    • Informative x 1
    • Like x 1
  8. mikeash

    mikeash Active Member

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    The safety concern is silly. Are the outlets to code? If they are, then there's no problem. If not, then that needs to be fixed ASAP regardless of use.

    The cost argument is sensible, though. The cost is small, but not entirely negligible. You are making everyone else pay for what you're using, even though it's not much. If they want to just let it go, or are willing to let you reimburse them, then that would be fair. But nothing says they must.

    I would apologize, offer a quick calculation of the costs (they probably don't realize how little it is) and to reimburse them for it, and assure them that as long as the installation is up to code there is no problem with overloading anything.
     
    • Helpful x 2
  9. ualbandit

    ualbandit Member

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    I am fairly certain I do have the right to plug in if it is not disallowed by the HOA rules, as confirmed by a close friend of mine who is President of an HOA.
     
  10. Chaz

    Chaz Big Kahuna

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    Also, if the outlets in a parking garage are not to be used by residents (as implied in OP) then who gets to use them? Maintenance only? i would suggest, as others have mentioned above, to educate the board and perhaps amend the HOA to address EV ownership for residents. Lead the way!

    Good luck!
     
    • Like x 1
  11. DarkMatter

    DarkMatter Member

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    Whatever you do, don't start a fight with your HOA unless you want to take it all the way.
     
  12. Max*

    Max* Autopilot != Autonomous

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    Actually in the latter they do make sense. Why should everyone in the association be paying for him to charge his car? It's ridiculous, that's an extra $0.0001 per resident owner that they'd have to shell out! The horror!

    Obviously the 2nd half is facetious, but the first part I'm serious about. The president wrote it to set a precedent, because someone will complain that they're paying to charge your car with community funds.

    OP: Offer to pay them back the $1 in electricity you use and show them the outlets are to code, and see what they say.
     
  13. Max*

    Max* Autopilot != Autonomous

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    Even then don't do it. They'll be using your money (HOA fees) to fight with you. So in essence you'd be paying both sides to fight the battle.
     
  14. ualbandit

    ualbandit Member

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    I do charge at Silverthorne on the way up to Beaver Creek, so my charging is minimal at the condo. I pay for electricity in the condo, but the HOA pays for common area electricity and gas. So if someone plugs in a hair dryer in the locker room or turns on one of the several gas fireplaces in the common areas, it is paid by the HOA. My guess is someone sitting by the fireplace for several hours costs more than my overnight charging.
     
  15. MorrisonHiker

    MorrisonHiker Beta Tester

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    Is there still time to back out of the deal? Maybe that would get their attention?
     
  16. Rocky_H

    Rocky_H Member

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    Right. That argument is entirely circular and self-defeating. The residents pay for those to be there and available for use, but if anyone uses them, they will be told they cannot use it because everyone is paying for it. That is wrong. Since they are being paid for by the residents through the HOA, then by definition they are allowed to use them. Just because other people aren't choosing to use them doesn't mean he is not allowed to.

    This isn't plugging into someone else's stuff. It's your resource paid for by you through your HOA dues. It's no different than running a TV or hair dryer or whatever on that outlet. There is no wording preventing people from using those outlets for things, so you're good to go.
     
  17. auger

    auger Member

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    My guess the President is the HOA for all intents and purposes, and he's not going to change his mind.

    Facts and logic will not trump his perception and preconceived notions. Hopefully, I'm wrong.

    You can try to work something out. Just decide how far you're willing to take it . . .
     
  18. ualbandit

    ualbandit Member

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    Interesting update on the HOA. My wife is up there this weekend while I am in Singapore. She says the roughly 8 cars that are in the garage that are being stored there during the slow fall season have all been moved so as to occupy all the parking spots immediately surrounding the only outlet I could use. Somebody circled the wagons up there.
     
  19. DÆrik

    DÆrik Member

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    Yikes, Sounds like they are taking matters into their own hands and taking a defensive stance. I would suggest finding what other condos in the area allow for EV charging and show them that it is much more common to allow them. To make you have to park outside and charge there is ridiculous.

    On a side note, try to enjoy Singapore. I love going there!

    Thanks Erik
     
  20. SageBrush

    SageBrush Active Member

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    Uggh.

    I would write a letter to the president expressing my concern that the garage is a fire hazard, based on his suspicion that the outlets cannot handle their intended purpose. Copy it to the local authorities.
     

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