On April 18, 2019, the New York City Council passed the Climate Mobilization Act, which seeks to reduce New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions. The 10-bill legislation is the largest single carbon reduction effort that any city, anywhere, has enacted. The Act, which will require buildings that are 25,000 square feet or larger to make a substantial reduction of fossil-fuel consumption, has raised concerns from New York City landlords.
As reported by Crain’s, beginning in 2024, large buildings must start scaling back carbon emissions and, by 2030, must reduce their carbon footprint by 40%. The legislation is an integral part of New York City’s effort to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. The statute applies to 50,000 of New York City’s 1 million buildings which account for about 30% of the city’s carbon gas emissions.
The legislation will allow some buildings that do not meet the standards but perform better than other structures to come into compliance later in the 10-year period. In addition, it eases requirements for rent-stabilized buildings to prevent financial hardship for low-wage New Yorkers.
According to CNBC, other bills in the Climate Mobilization Act will require some buildings to be topped with green roofs or solar panels and establish a program to provide long-term financing options for energy-efficient projects.
Landlords have expressed concern that the new rules are unfair in that they apply the same standard to every building, despite significant differences between structures and some properties will need to make substantially more changes than others to comply. The laws will require buildings to make changes in the way they operate and purchase expensive equipment to reduce energy consumption.
According to Crain’s, some building owners argue that, although their buildings are already energy-efficient, they may not meet the new standards due to energy-consuming tenants, such as stock trading firms, that require high-power servers and computers.
The legislation has been met with opposition by the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), one of the most powerful trade associations in New York City. REBNY stated that the legislation will not help New York meet its carbon emissions reduction goals and many building owners will have to bear its financial burden.
As reported by CNBC, some have argued that the legislation will discourage developers from constructing large, dense buildings and landlords from leasing to energy-guzzling tenants, such as technology and media companies.
With laws and regulations surrounding building operations always changing, it can be difficult for New York building owners and landlords to devote themselves to time-consuming efforts to adjust their business practices to align with the letter of the law. When seeking to comply with local, state, and federal laws, businesses should consult an experienced New York landlord lawyer.
The lawyers at Blodnick Fazio & Clark are experienced in handling various matters relating to landlords and building owners. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call (516) 280-7105 for our New York City and Nassau County landlord lawyers or our Suffolk County landlord lawyers at (631) 669-6300.