Skip to content

Richmond EV owner ordered to unplug vehicle

Murray Wasylnuk claims he's being singled out by his landlord, while other EV owners charge their vehicles unmolested

The owner of an electric vehicle claims he’s being singled out by his rental building manager for charging up his car at a regular power outlet.

Murray Wasylnuk said he’s been warned several times to stop charging his 2021 Mustang Mach E in the underground parking garage of the Riverport Flats rental apartment block on Steveston Highway, close to Silvercity cinema, because it causes the power to trip.

Wasylnuk claims that a number of other renters in the 10-year-old building, including two Tesla drivers, are freely using the outlets, unmolested.

When he pointed this apparent discrepancy out to the building management earlier this year, he claims he was told that the other drivers had permission – a process he said doesn’t even exist in the building.

However, a spokesperson for building owners River Port Way Holdings Ltd told the Richmond News that absolutely no one, for safety and liability reasons, is permitted to charge up their vehicles in the garage.

Nevertheless, Wasylnuk took photos over the weekend, showing at least one Tesla driver charging up the vehicle from the very same outlets in the building’s parking garage.

“I’ve had no other issues in all the time I’ve been living here,” an exasperated Wasylnuk told the News.

“I pay my rent on time, I’m quiet, I’m super clean.

“I did ask why the other drivers are allowed to charge up and was told they had permission. But as soon as I asked for the same permission, it went quiet.

“I talked to one of the Tesla owners and they said the breakers have been tripped a few times and they just text (the building manager) and he flips the switch back on.

“I told (the manager), either we should all be allowed to charge up or none of us.”

Wasylnuk also claims he received a bizarre call last week from someone claiming to be an “arbitrator” between himself and the landlords.

“He said he was working on a solution for me, including helping me to move and pay my expenses,” said Wasylnuk.

“He said I wasn’t being evicted or anything, but wanted to work on a solution. I’m assuming the landlord called in the arbitrator. It was weird, as this is the first issue I’ve had.”

The landlord spokesperson, in the statement given to the News, explained that the “building is not equipped to charge electric vehicles (EVs) and does not have the necessary charging outlets or the appropriate infrastructure to permit the safe re-charging of EVs.”

The statement pointed out that the landlord was not aware of any other vehicles being charged up and would take appropriate action if it did become aware.

And it stated that Wasylnuk was, in fact, the one who suggested giving up his rental and that the landlord offered to help defray the costs of relocating.

“While existing outlets in common areas meet standards for normal daily use (such as car vacuums) they were not designed for EV charging,” added the landlord.

The statement went on to say that such recharging stations require “specialized features and support, such as WiFi access and must meet electrical standards set out by BC Hydro and provincial regulations.”

According to the landlord, the EV owners, while charging their vehicles, are overloading the electrical system, and causing breakers to trip the system.

“This could create a potential fire hazard, which presents a clear danger to public safety, and endangers the personal property and lives of other tenants.

“In addition, the breakers are connected to sump pumps and parking lot ventilation systems creating additional hazards if the power fails.”

As such, added the statement, there could be a “violation of our insurance agreement which could be voided.

“Without insurance we cannot continue to offer rental units to our tenants.

“Our company took over the building earlier in 2021 and since then have made every effort to ensure that we are complying with the letter of our insurance agreement and all regulations and laws.

“We fully support the adoption of green initiatives like EVs, and our goal is to introduce approved level 2 EV charging stations to allow users to safely charge their vehicles in the future.”