California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed SB 209 by Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) – Common interest developments: electric vehicle charging stations. He accompanied this with a signing message that is included below or you can read the original on the official State of California site.

CAI-CLAC worked diligently on this bill and it is much improved from the original but still does not address all of our concerns. Below we outline our appreciation for the work of all involved and note the work we still have in front of us.

Governor Brown Signs Electric Vehicle Bill, Senate Bill 209 –

CAI-CLAC Continues Work Toward Further Protection of Property Rights


Sacramento, Calif.⎯July 26, 2011⎯The California Legislative Action Committee of the Community Associations Institute (CAI-CLAC),, applauds California Governor Brown on his commitment to advancing the energy conservation goals of achieving a statewide 20% reduction in energy use by 2020.  Governor Brown is moving toward this goal with the signing of Senate Bill 209, which takes effect January 1, 2012, prohibiting community associations (HOAs) from unreasonably restricting the installation of electric vehicle charging stations.

Throughout the lawmaking process CAI-CLAC worked with the author’s staff to improve the measure since it had numerous unresolved issues including:

  • whether an association’s architectural standards would be complied with,
  • who is responsible for paying for the installation,
  • who is responsible for energy usage, repair and removal, and
  • whether its installation shall be disclosed to potential buyers.

As all of these suggestions were accepted by the author, CAI-CLAC testified in multiple committees that we were working with the staff to fix these problems.

However, a very significant problem remained unresolved in that the measure essentially condones an unconstitutional governmental “taking” of property that is commonly owned by all the members for the benefit of one.  CAI-CLAC provided several longstanding case rulings that consistently safeguarded the ownership rights of these properties.  The concerns raised by CAI-CLAC are reflected in the Governor’s “Signing Message”, a form of communication that is rarely used:

“To the Members of the California State Senate:

Senate Bill 209 advances the important state interests of lowering vehicle emissions and decreasing dependency on foreign oil.  These interests are advanced statutorily by removing unreasonable burdens in common interest developments to the installation of plug-in vehicle charging stations.  Charging stations are part of the infrastructure that must be built to integrate electric vehicles into our daily lives by allowing plug-in vehicles to be recharged faster and to minimize impact to the electrical grid.  I enthusiastically support this bill.

This bill, unfortunately, contains language that could permit individual homeowners to unreasonably use or occupy common areas.  The author has assured me that she will pursue legislation that clearly protects the right of the common interest developments to establish reasonable rules for any use of common areas for charging stations.”


CAI-CLAC will remain steadfast in its protection and preservation of owners’ property rights and will, again, work very closely with the Senator as another bill emerges, or as an amendment is made to an existing measure this session, which ends September 9.