The Real Deal New York

Landlords slow to abandon noxious heating oil

Conversion deadline only a year away, but many owners have yet to eighty-six No. 6 fuel
April 07, 2014 01:52PM

Thousands of New York City buildings are still burning some of the most polluted forms of heating oil, despite a citywide push to switch to a cleaner and safer alternative.

In 2011, the city approved a ban of oil known as No. 6 effective July 2015. All buildings must use No. 2 oil or natural gas by the year 2030. A four-year plan to phase out No. 6 has made very little progress since launching in 2011. Only about half of the buildings that were using No. 6 at the time have switched over. Hundreds have gone instead with No. 4, which, depending on the supplier, can also reduce air quality. Michael Wolfe of Midboro Management, property manager for about 100 condominiums and co-ops in Manhattan, told the Times that the majority of his buildings have gone with No. 4.

The primary reason why landlords are wary to convert a boiler to lighter oil is the cost. Prices range from $5,000 to $17,000, property managers told the New York Times. A natural gas switch is even more expensive.

“We are not satisfied with the level of turnaround,” Cecil Corbin-Mark of environmental nonprofit WeAct told the Times. “There is probably a pool of landlords out there who will probably have to be pulled into this kicking and screaming.” [NYT]Mark Maurer

  • angryowner

    I have 40 apartments and was quoted $250,000 to bring natural gas to my building.. WTF do you expect me to do?!?!?!

    • why so punitive?

      I wish the city would stop HATING private property owners. If we haven’t done anything wrong like Joel Israel, I WISH the city would regard us with as much tolerance, leniancy and APPROVAL as NYCHA and Los Sures:

      ““While most of these [re-habbed HDFC] buildings pay no or limited taxes after their rehabilitation, they do contribute to improving their neighborhoods and increasing real-estate tax assessment and collection [in the neighborhood],” a recent report from Citizens Housing & Planning Council concluded.

      Private for-profit developers wish they could get the same deal HDFCs get. “They don’t want to give incentives to private developers, but they have to give incentives to non-profits to operate in this tax environment,” said

      Dan Margulies, executive director of Associated Builders and Owners, a real estate group whose members own and develop housing.”

    • common sense

      you think $250,000 is bad – I have a 40 unit building and ConEd said that it would cost $1.5MM to convert. But they were nice enough to offer a payment plan of $25,000 per month for 60 months. Ridiculous.

  • marknroses

    maybe its time to hit up those RS/RC tenants with a permanent rent increase to fund landlord cost to convert fuel type as per city regs.

    • noclist

      with DeBlasio running the show? Not a chance. We’ll be lucky if the RS board doesn’t freeze rent increases this year.

  • cobblehillite

    when this new law was enacted and the city promlugated rules, a lot of owners/managers asked for help in 3 ways — 1. provide incentives for those who agreed to do early; 2. compel con ed to ratchet up their operations to faciliitate natural gas; 3. ease regulations so that it was easier for owners to do quickly and less expensively. The city and the city council chose to hold useless info sessions, promulgate punitive rules with no incentives and hold press releases. The fact that many landlords have not converted was so predictable….

    • Another Job for Mark Levine

      We need Mark Levine to sue the city and the newspapers. A side by side comparison of airbnb coverage will show how hands off the coverage is when the tenant is the host but a rare article about a landlord who uses it justifies a total change in tone with the landlord as a greedy monster who wants to kick everyone out so they can airbnb the premises.

      They wouldn’t imply that NYCHA was this huge polluter if the City was in the same shoes and would cite how unaffordable this may be.

      I can imagine the despair of the private owners at this law change which may not be affordable. How much worse it to have the press unsympathetically report that you have to be forced to do the right thing implying that you have bad moral character?