Installing an EV (electric vehicle) charger in an apartment complex or flat is possible. However, it may come with a few extra complications compared to residential housing. So, what are the options?
Notably, you are entitled to install a charge point at your property. This process is more straightforward if you have a designated private parking space. There are a few hurdles that you need to overcome before installation. You may need to get any freeholder’s permission or any other management agents that may have a say over these decisions. Fortunately, getting a yes is the likely option. Everyone is now encouraged to focus on electric cars, and it will be in these authorities’ best interest to allow the installation. It will only make the property more desirable.
You will need access rights to installations that require access to another property or communal areas, such as car parks. To do this, you must contact all the relevant bodies to ensure you can legally install your EV charger. These are often called “legal covenants” and must be signed off fully before installation starts.
All this red tape can add up and make it unfeasible to install a charger. It is advised to message the powers that be to see the likelihood that you will be allowed to install an EV charger, and then a cost can be calculated before you start. It is not impossible to think that some freeholders and management agents will be willing to allow a charging point with little or no additional cost from their end, and simply asking can save a lot of money.
As electric car popularity grows, so will the likelihood of the number of tenants in the flat or apartment complex requiring an EV charger. A worthwhile option is getting together with your neighbours and proposing the property authorities to install multi EV charging points that are communally available. There will be certain hurdles, as property management may not see this as a good return on investment, but as we said before, more electric cars are being purchased, and new homeowners may soon have an EV charging point on their requirements list.
Flats and apartments are often far, far, far away from the carpark, which will bring additional installation implications. If no central electricity board is associated with your property, the cable connecting from the circuit board to the charger could become rather lengthy. Most installers will still be happy to install the unit, but additional costs for the cable and installation time could be incurred.
Underground parking is where things get more difficult but not impossible. On top of the discussed pitfalls, another issue associated with underground parking is the lack of WI-FI or 4/5g network connections. Slow or non-existent network coverage will cause issues connecting to your chosen provider, affecting updates, progress, and smart charging abilities. This will likely require further investment to install a functioning internet connection.
Depending on the age or location of your property (like a flat or apartment), you’ll need to ensure that your electrical supply can withstand adding an EV charger to it. The installer will need to contact your Distribution Network Operator (more on this later). They are people who own and operate the infrastructure, including the powerline to the National Grid. This will be crucial if you want to add several charge points to your complex.
What to know about Distribution Network Operator (DNO)?
Each area of the UK has its own Distribution Network Operator. These are split up into nine districts with six DNOs. These are SSE, SP Energy Networks, Electricity Northwest, Northern PowerGrid, Western Power Distribution, UK Power Networks and Northern Ireland Electricity. Any electrical bill you receive will show which DNO represents your area.
Your DNO will mediate the power supply between the National Grid and your energy company. They determine if there is a suitable infrastructure to install an EV charger. In most cases, there is nothing to fear from this process. Assessments can be carried out quickly, especially if neighbours have already installed an EV charger.
There are, however, notable pitfalls you may need to consider. There is no set time for your DNO to carry out these assessments, with some taking weeks. If there were issues with supply to the property, most EV chargers could be downgraded to still perform at a charge but at a much lower level. For example, a 7kW unit operates at 32Amps but can be reduced to as little as 16Amps, while waiting for the infrastructure to be upgraded. This may not necessarily cost you anything but be aware that additional cost can sometimes raise their wary head.
Don’t let all these issues deter you from electric cars; there will always be room for manoeuvre, and the raised factors can be easily rectified and hopefully at a minimal cost.
Can I install an EV charger if I do not own my property?
This will be down to your landlord or management agency to agree. If you are willing to fit the bill, most landlords would bite your hand off, but as a renter, you do not necessarily want to pay out for something you can’t take with you if you leave. However, there is a scheme that means your landlord can get help installing an EV charger at their property.
The electric vehicle charge point grant will provide up to 75% of the installation, although the actual monetary value of this is capped at £350, including VAT. This scheme only entitles you to one installation, if you have two electric cars, then you will need to share or fork out for another unit yourselves. There are many different types of grants that you may be able to apply for by checking out the government website.
What do you need to apply?
As a renter, the installer must confirm your details or those letting the property. From here, you will need to contact the installer, and it is up to them to check whether you qualify for the scheme. If so, they will apply on your behalf.
If qualified, the installer will charge you the price of installation minus the grant amount if you have been successful. OZEV will then reimburse your installer within 30 days of the completion of the installation.
The installer will then bill you for the price of the installation, minus the grant amount awarded. If the application is successful, the installer will be reimbursed within 30 days for the grant amount awarded.
During the summer of 2022, the application will become digital and far more streamlined to ensure there is no duplication of applications and data being transferred manually.
How the OZEV scheme can help landlords and their tenants
As of April 2022, the Government’s office for zero-emission vehicles (OZEV) has turned its focus on the landlord and renter’s sector. This is good news for landlords and renters with aid being provided by the government to allow everyone to have the option of EV chargers.
Access through the OZEV scheme will make it more feasible for all landlords, whether private, social, or institutional, to install an EV for their tenants. Installing an EV charger in apartment builds is on the backfoot compared to those living in a detached, terrace or semi-detached property. So, to try and bridge this gap, OZEV will fund up to £30,000 per block of flats or apartment buildings for installation costs. There will be a limit of 30 applications from a single applicant each year. Possibly affecting some landlords with an extensive portfolio, but this is plenty to help build an EV charger infrastructure for the majority.
Specific requirements will determine the amount of grant awarded by how many bays are requested. £850 per bay is available for a charge point socket—£ 500 for the support infrastructure and £350 per charge point installed.
Qualification requires registered business or public authority applications and private landlords registered with Companies House with a VAT number or privately registered.
There is no limit to how many points can be installed, but a minimum of five bays must have the infrastructure installed. £30,000 is the capped cost, except for some landlords and social housing agencies, they can be granted up to £70,000, which is means tested, of course. So any additional funds will need to be incurred by the owners or management teams.
Who is considered to be a landlord for the grants?
- Landlord of a property let.
- Right to manage (RTM) company.
- Companies owning the freehold of a leased or rented property.
- Companies owning a building’s common areas. The company may comprise shareholders who are the leaseholders. The company may also manage the building.
- Property factor listed on the property factor register.
- Private registered providers of social housing (PRP).
- Public authorities.
- Housing association (infrastructure grant only).
- Residents’ management company (infrastructure grant only).
EV Charger Installation Cost
March 31, 2022, saw the end of help for homeowners Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) living in bungalows, detached, semi-detached or terraced housing, but new grants and schemes to get you green could soon be available. Watch this space.
Installation cost has been spoken about throughout, but if you buy an EV charger outright, the average installation cost is around the £1,000 mark. Some units will cost less, and some will cost a lot more. Carry out our EV quote form to find a range of products plus prices suitable for your needs.
EV Charger Maintenance Plans
Maintenance plans are a new concept for EV chargers, with most installers including them in the installation. There are not any fixed rules about maintenance or routine check-ups, yet. There are maintenance plans available that offer peace of mind if nothing else. They tend to provide breakdown services, part replacements and yearly servicing, much like what you would get for your central heating gas boiler packages.
Most advice is just to keep the unit clean. You can find out how to do that from our blog, “How to care for your EV Charger”
Yes, if you own the flat and have clear access to your car and property. Any obstructions or cross over to neighbours or communal property will need permission from the managing agent.
Everybody can own an Electric Car, even if you are living in a flat. There are hurdles to overcome due to the location, but solutions are available to make charging your car possible.
If you do not have a driveway, charging your electric car at home can be slightly more complicated. You can run a cable from your home to the car across pavements, but you need to consider those around you and the potential of a tripping hazard.
There are other options, for instance, charging at work, local public charger and possibly hooking up at a friend’s or family’s house, if they are willing.
This is a very dangerous way to charge your electric car and should not be entertained. Not only does this offer a high chance of electric shock, but it can fry the extension cable, cause fires, and damage your home electrics. Not advised at all.