Condominium Owners Fined In Proposed Boston Ordinance
Environmental regulators in Boston are pushing to become the first municipality in Massachusetts to require commercial and residential building owners, including condominiums with 25 units or more to “score” their building, or face enforcement and fines. According to City officials this proposal is first in a series of steps to implement a plan, which also calls for scoring and retrofitting a building’s inefficient energy systems at the time of property transfer.
The City’s ordinance will require property owners, including condominium associations, to collect utility information from every household or commercial tenant, complete complex energy audits, and then report and disclose the results-which will then be evaluated or “scored” by government regulators. Owners who refuse to comply will face enforcement or fines. The same goes for individual tenants or condominium owners who refuse to turn over their utility bills to allow for an accurate audit. Buildings may be subject to an ASHRAE audit with estimated costs between $20-50k depending on the size of the building.
While the City hopes to replicate energy scoring programs that have been adopted in other cities, there is no credible evidence to date that this regulatory approach is effective in achieving the goals for which they are intended. The Greater Boston Real Estate Board is deeply troubled by the eager embrace of an unproven program - particularly when it is expected to cost property owners hundreds of millions of dollars to implement – not to mention the financial burden imposed on customers who already pay a surcharge on their energy bills for energy efficiency programs.
The bill has been referred to the Committee on Government Operations for a public hearing. Under the City Charter the Mayor may file an ordinance “he deems to be for the welfare of the city” that becomes law automatically unless it is rejected by the Council or withdrawn by the Mayor within 60 days after the date it is filed.
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