What the Local Law 133 Means for You as a Landlord

Just when you thought you had the NYC compliance code down pat, it goes and changes on you again. 2018 promises to bring yet another amendment to the compliance code, which you, as a landlord, must observe or risk being issued a violation.

No worries, though. As always, Jack Jaffa & Associates is here to guide you through the latest amendment to our city’s complicated compliance code.

Going green is always in vogue. That’s why Local Law 84 was passed back in 2009. Since it took effect in 2011, owners of large buildings in NYC measuring more than 50,000 square feet, or groups of buildings on a single lot larger than 100,000 square feet, were required to annually measure, track, and report their energy, gas, water, and fuel consumption. This process is commonly referred to as benchmarking. Since these reports are made available to the public, it was anticipated that they would generate energy efficiency and a greener usage of resources.

If any of your properties were included in the criteria set for Local Law 84, you’ve likely grown accustomed to reporting your energy usage. But now this law is set to change.

Last October, NYC passed Local Law 133/16 amending the benchmarking law. The list of buildings required to benchmark has been significantly expanded and now includes mid-sized buildings measuring 25,000 square feet or larger. Owners of these mid-sized building must benchmark for the first time by May 1st, 2018, and then by May 1st of every succeeding year.

Another important change to Local Law 84 exempts owners of “garden apartments” from being required to benchmark. As of October 31, 2016, the list of buildings required to benchmark excludes all residential properties that consist of three stories or less, for which ownership and maintenance responsibility of the HVAC and hot water heating systems are held by each individual dwelling unit owner. In simpler terms, if there is no HVAC system or hot water heating system in the series of dwellings that serve more than two units, the properties are exempt from benchmarking.

To submit benchmarking reports, owners must register with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and then enter their utilities data spanning from January 1st to December 31st of the previous year into the EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager.

As always, failure to comply with the law will result in a violation.  Any property on the Covered Buildings List that has not submitted a benchmarking report by the May 1st deadline will receive a Notice of Violation from the NYC Department of Buildings and be fined $500. Continued failure to benchmark will result in a $500 penalty being issued each quarter, up to a maximum of $2,000 fined per year.

To learn if you are required to benchmark, you can review your property tax bill from the Department of Finance. Look for a section marked “Greener, Greater Buildings Plan Compliance Notification.” You can also check the Covered Buildings List found on the GGBP website for your borough, block and lot (BBL) number. Please note, though, that the list of buildings covered by Local Law 133 had not yet been updated for 2018.  However, it is smart to start tracking your energy usage if you have reason to believe your properties may fall on this list.

The NYC compliance code can seem to change with the seasons. That’s why Jack Jaffa & Associates is here to keep you updated on the latest laws and amendments to the compliance code. We’ll always keep you in the loop!

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