As of the end of October 2023 there are around 920,000 fully electric cars on UK roads and take-up continues to increase. The government remains committed to banning the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles (by 2035 as it stands) and with the UK looking to go net-zero by 2050, drivers are increasingly being pushed to adopt electric vehicles.
Another push is clean air zone charges which are already in place in parts of the UK and which are proposed for some areas of the North West which will impact drivers living and working in these zones.
Set against that is the increased need for EV charging infrastructure. One of the main concerns cited against EVs is ‘range anxiety’ and worry about ability to charge on the go. This, along with a trend towards home working, and planning policy, has led many owners and developers of commercial properties to consider the installation of EV charging points on site to encourage commuters and visitors driving electric vehicles to charge them on site.
Considerations for commercial landlords and tenants
Whether you are a landlord or a tenant looking to install an EV charging point at your commercial premises, there are several things you will need to consider to ensure you are complying with the law and your responsibilities as a tenant or landlord.
Planning permission – First and foremost, it is vital to know whether planning permission is required to install an EV charging point. This is particularly relevant to listed buildings and in conservation areas. If you are found to have installed a charging point without necessary permissions it could prove costly to rectify.
Restrictive covenants – You may also be subject to restrictions on the property’s title which would prevent the installation of a charging point or you may need additional consents from third parties.
Insurance policies – The installation of a charging point at your commercial premises may affect your buildings insurance so we would advise you contact your insurers to make sure you don’t invalidate your insurance.
Recoverable costs – If you are a landlord installing an EV charging point, you may want to look at where you can recover the costs of installation and maintenance through a service charge provision in the commercial lease. If you are a tenant, you will want to enter into discussions with the landlord to come to an agreement over who is responsible for the installation and ongoing costs. There are also grants available to companies that are not available to individuals for home chargers.
Charge for use – Landlords will need to consider how the cost of use of the EV charging point will be covered. Will users be charged on an individual basis to charge their vehicle? Will the costs be covered by an increase in rent for the commercial tenant? If it’s the latter you will need to look at the next point…
Leases and rent reviews – If an EV charging point is installed and it is agreed that the cost of use will be covered by an increase in rent or maintenance will be covered by a service charge to the tenant, these changes will need to be reflected in the commercial lease. In some circumstances, the availability of EV charging on site will increase the desirability of the property to tenants and thus its value, so as a landlord you may wish to consider future rent reviews.
There are of course numerous other considerations you may need to make, depending on your individual circumstances so we would always advise you seek legal advice prior to making a decision on installing an EV charging point.
Farleys has a team of commercial property solicitors available to provide legal advice on EV charging points, their impact on commercial leases, and rent review discussions or disputes. Get in touch today on 0845 287 0939 or contact us by email.