REBNY appreciates this opportunity to comment on the Department of Building’s (DOB) proposed rule concerning lighting and submetering upgrades.
Local Law 88 and its successor laws, Local Laws 132 and 134, collectively require buildings over 25,000 square feet to upgrade lighting and install sub-meters in certain spaces. Specifically, the laws require lighting upgrades to meet the most recent New York City Energy Conservation Code in all common areas of residential buildings and all areas of non-residential buildings. These laws also require the installation of electric sub-meters in non-residential tenant spaces greater than 5,000 square feet. The DOB’s proposed rule details how to report compliance with lighting and sub-metering requirements and lays out various penalties for non-compliance.
Local Law 88 was passed in 2009, and the updates represented by LL 132 and 134 were passed in 2016. The legislation was premised on the idea that a relatively lengthy compliance period was warranted to provide time for leases to turnover, as turnover is the time when this work can be done most efficiently and cost-effectively. Nonetheless, we understand that there are instances where the required work has yet to be completed in spaces that have been consistently leased to a tenant who has yet to complete the required upgrades. This can happen even despite an owner’s best intentions as commercial leases generally place tenants in charge of their space.
In such a circumstance, the final rule should account for instances where building owners made good faith efforts to comply with these laws but could not do so due to factors such as space being consistently under the control of a tenant who has not made the required upgrades. In addition, the rule should allow owners to file showing compliance in this circumstance and should not fine owners for work that was not completed in tenant spaces in such a circumstance.
Thank you for considering this perspective.