“It came as something of a surprise,” says Stephen Varone, president of Rand Engineering, about the postponement of May 1 filing dates for annual benchmarking reports required for buildings over 25,000 square feet by the City of New York. The change in filing date came only several days before the deadline.
Kristen Hariton, product marketing strategist for SiteCompli.com, a compliance management firm, concurs. “The filing date changed a few days before the deadline.” The annual paperwork is now due August 1, 2020, a 90-day extension, and according to Varone, “Building owners will not be issued penalty fees if they file by August 1.”
Trend, or One-Shot Deal?
This development begs the question of whether the postponement of benchmarking reports represents the beginning of a trend by New York City officials to reschedule the many filings and inspections required each year of landlords -- as well as co-op corporations and condominium associations -- for their buildings. Or is this a one-shot deal and why? Is this part of a trend resulting from pandemic-related limitations on movement and interpersonal contact?
Varone points out that annual benchmarking reports don’t require any physical reports. Those are done every 10 years. Hariton adds that the size of buildings required to do benchmarking reports annually was recently lowered to 25,000 square feet, greatly increasing the number of properties subject to the law. This change may have caused a backlog for the department that reviews and records the reports. And Varone stresses that this move was just an extension, not a permanent change to the filing date.