Kavanagh Bill Would Shield Tenants from Unfair Electric Submetering Charges

February 11, 2009

In response to landlord Tishman Speyer’s recent proposal to implement electrical submetering and other energy efficiency improvements for all of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh and Senator Tom Duane have introduced legislation (A4877/S1794) that would prevent landlords from seeking Major Capital Improvement (MCI) rent increases for capital work that is part of their justification for receiving certain State grants.

For their proposed project, Tishman Speyer had intended to take advantage of substantial public subsidies offered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) Multifamily Performance Program, but also maintains that current law would allow the landlord to pass most of the costs of the work along to tenants through the MCI program. This practice of double-dipping, by taking advantage of two different incentives for the same work, would violate the intent of the incentive provisions and, if permitted, would result in a windfall to the landlord. The Kavanagh/Duane bill would clarify that such double-dipping is not permitted. The bill has been referred to the Housing Committee in the Assembly.