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Boston City Council Approves Mayor’s Building Scoring Ordinance

Earlier this month, the Boston City Council voted 9-4 to approve a new Building Energy Disclosure Ordinance. As previously reported, the Greater Boston Real Estate Board and Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® opposed the measure due to concerns about the potential to increase condo fees, raise rents, and stigmatize older, less energy-efficient buildings thereby resulting in lower property values. Unfortunately, in the end only four city councilors shared our view and voted against the proposal. They were Bill Linehan, Mark Ciommo, Frank Baker and Steve Murphy. Please take a moment to thank them.

This new building labeling law requires all buildings over 35,000 square feet, including apartments, condominiums and commercial buildings to collect, report and publicly disclose to city regulators the energy and water use of each building. Affected buildings that do meet city standards will be required to undergo an ASHRAE Level II energy audit or other assessment every five years at the owner’s cost (Est. $15,000 to $30,000)

Owners will be obligated to request information from tenants and individual condominium owners, however the individual tenant or condominium owner has no obligation to comply. A slightly amended version of the bill removed penalties for individual condo owners/tenants who do not turn over their utility bills to the owner or condo association. However, the building owner, including condominium associations that fail to comply will still be subject to fines up to $200/day (equals $73,000/year).

Notably, by approving this measure the City Council has granted broad authority to environmental regulators to determine how the new law will be implemented leaving many unanswered questions. GBREB will provide updates on regulatory process as it becomes clear how members need to comply. Click here to see a summary