City Council Proposal Could Mean Changes For Local Law 97

Councilwoman Linda Lee has proposed three bills impacting emissions regulations, one of which has garnered a large swath of cosponsors and could lead to significant changes to Local Law 97.

Here’s what you need to know:

Green Space Included In Calculations?

This specific proposal has the most support (25 sponsors to date), giving it some momentum as we enter the year before the first Local Law 97 filing date.

The proposal would do a few major things for condos, co-ops, and garden buildings:

  • Allow the consideration of open and green spaces as part of a building’s gross floor area when calculating greenhouse gas emissions limits for garden apartments and buildings comprised of condominium and cooperative units
  • Create civil penalty reductions for buildings comprised of condominium and cooperative units
  • Allow courts and administrative tribunals to consider the median property value of residential buildings containing condominiums and co-ops as a mitigating factor in determining civil penalties for failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Require that the Department of Buildings consider whether to grant an adjustment to a building’s emissions limit requirement based on that building’s prior installation of emissions-reducing technology such as solar panels, submetering, or oil to gas conversions

Per Councilwoman Lee’s recent quote in Crain’s, the intent of the proposal is to “minimize some of the fines and the penalties that we know are coming down the pipeline.”

Right now, Local Law 97 penalties for both emissions and failure to file the report are dynamic – based on overages or property size, instead of a set, singular penalty. You can get the specifics here, in our recent post on enforcement. This proposal would introduce even more variables for condos and co-ops, and allow for potentially reduced penalties.

Specific Penalty Reduction

Bullets three and four above note penalty reductions for certain properties. The proposed law explicitly lists these reductions for condos and co-ops comprised of units with an average assessed value of $65,000 or less:

  • From January 1, 2030 to December 31, 2035, civil penalties shall be reduced by 100 percent;
  • From January 1, 2036 to December 31, 2040, civil penalties shall be reduced by 50 percent; and
  • From January 1, 2041 to December 31, 2045, civil penalties shall be reduced by 25 percent.

Consideration for these reductions would be given based on the property’s prior installation of certain technology as listed above.

Here’s a link to the full text and summary of the proposed law.

Penalty Warning & Education

A separate proposal would require the DOB to notify the owner of covered buildings every two years with key information:

  • Estimated greenhouse gas emissions based on the most recent year of available data
  • Estimated emissions limit in key years (2024, 2030, 2035, 2040, and 2050)
  • A range of estimated penalties for the building based on low, medium, or high scenarios, and a brief explanation of penalty determination factors per the law
  • The amount of emissions that the covered building must reduce by key years (2024, 2030, 2035, 2040, and 2050)
  • The agency’s website address for compliance outreach and educational materials

The intent is to ensure owners and managers are informed of risks related to exceeding emissions limits as the standards tighten, and can take steps to mitigate any potential penalties.

While the proposal notes “no later than June 1, 2024” as the first proposed date of notification for owners (and the law itself would take effect 120 days after passage), that’s likely to change given that we’re currently well into June.

Covered Building Definitions

The final proposal for Local Law 97-related rules in this set is about the definition of covered buildings.

The proposed law would amend an exception for emissions limits and energy conservation measure requirements enacted in Local Law 97. The amended exception would “exclude dwelling units that meet certain specifications from these definitions of ‘covered building’.”

The first area below is the current definition of covered building exceptions (seen in Local Law 126 of 2021), and the second is the proposed amended definition:

Real property, not more than three stories, consisting of a series of attached, detached or semi-detached dwellings, for which ownership and the responsibility for maintenance of the HVAC systems and hot water heating systems is held by each individual dwelling unit owner, and with no HVAC system or hot water heating system in the series serving more than 25,000 gross square feet (2322.5 m2), as certified by a registered design professional to the department.


A series of attached, detached or semidetached dwelling units, not more than three stories above grade, which are provided collectively with essential services such as, but not limited to, water supply and house sewers, and which units are located on a site or plot not less than 20,000 square feet (1858.0608 m2) in area under common ownership, and which units together and in their aggregate are arranged or designed to provide three or more apartments.

As of June 2024, all three of the above bills are currently referred to committee. The next Housing and Buildings Committee meeting is scheduled for June 25, 2024, but may be subject to change. Currently the agenda for that meeting focuses mainly on facades and sidewalk sheds.

We’ll keep you posted to any future movement here. Stay tuned to our monthly council update, and to the blog for details on any newly adopted rules or laws.

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About the Author

Kristen Hariton

Kristen Hariton is the Vice President, Product Engagement at SiteCompli, focused on exploring new solutions and innovations in property operations tech. When she's not sharing the latest industry trends, changes, and updates, she's planning her next adventure to Walt Disney World.