With filings for Local Law 97 and other related energy and environmental regulations looming, many co-op and condo boards may have questions about completing the filings properly and on schedule. While it’s best - crucial, in fact - that you get professional input on this to avoid running afoul of the law, here’s a few things you need to know:
Who’s in Charge?
“When it comes to annual filing for compliance with any local law,” says Matt Cebula, director of energy services at AKAM Management, a national real estate management firm that specializes in residential communities, “management handles all aspects of compliance as part of management services. If, for some reason, filings of this type happen to be outside of your management company’s scope, the best course of action to take would be to engage a professional energy consultant to help your property with the process. Another great resource is the NYC Accelerator, a program launched by the New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, which provides free guidance on making energy-saving changes as well as advisory services to help you understand and ensure your compliance with local laws.”
Management should keep board members informed throughout the whole process and communicate in real time - especially in the event of a problem, explains Cebula. Last year, in advance of letter grades going up, AKAM informed board members of what their expected letter grades would be. If you have full time management, your board should request that management provide preliminary expectations. Cebula suggests this year will be interesting, because most property grades will be higher than last year - thanks to the pandemic shutting down many amenities, many residents fleeing to second homes, leases expiring, etc. He says they’ve already seen an increase in scores, which in turn will be reflected in upcoming letter grades to be posted in October.
Schedules & Filings
Annual filings for Local Law 97 will begin in a few years. In the meantime, there are other related filings which are due shortly. “If your building’s 2018 calendar year emissions are more than 40% above the 2024 caps due to a special circumstance in your building, the property may be eligible for an adjustment of allowable emissions,” says Cebula. “The application for this type of adjustment is due by June 30, 2021. We strongly encourage building owners to consult a registered design professional regarding their eligibility for these adjustments. Applications for buildings eligible for this adjustment are due by July 21, 2021”
Local Law 97 requires buildings to start meeting greenhouse gas emissions caps in 2024 and to begin reporting their compliance beginning May 1, 2025, and by May 1 every year thereafter. However, earlier this week the City confirmed an extension to June 1 for this year. 2025 is really the crucial year where the financial implications kick in.