Monday, January 26, 2015

BOMA California Update - 2015 Legislation Affecting the Commercial Real Estate Industry & More





Energy Code - Wiring Alterations Fact Sheet

The Nonresidential Lighting Wiring Alterations changes in the latest version of the California Building Energy Efficiency Standards has caused some confusion.  As such, BOMA California has brought to the attention of the Energy Commission. In order to help with compliance they have put together a fact sheet that may help, and may save some time, effort, and capital.

Click here more information.

For assistance with understanding or locating information in the 2013 Energy Standards, contact the Energy Standards Hotline at: (800) 772-3300 (toll-free in California) or via email at title24@energy.ca.gov.


2015 Legislation 

With the start of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session BOMA California is monitoring the new bills that are being introduced. Legislators can introduce new measure up until the “Bill Introduction Deadline,” on February 27. We expect up to 2,500 introductions, with a large majority of them coming the two weeks before the deadline. Below are a few bills of interest that have been introduced to far.

Minimum Wage Increase

SB 3 (Leno D) Minimum wage: adjustment.

Existing law requires that, on and after July 1, 2014, the minimum wage for all industries be not less than $9 per hour. Existing law further increases the minimum wage, on and after January 1, 2016, to not less than $10 per hour. This bill would increase the minimum wage, on and after January 1, 2016, to not less than $11 per hour, on and after July 1, 2017, to not less than $13 per hour. The bill would require the annual automatic adjustment of the minimum wage, commencing January 1, 2019, to maintain employee purchasing power diminished by the rate of inflation during the previous year. The adjustment would be calculated using the California Consumer Price Index, as specified. The bill would prohibit the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) from adjusting the minimum wage downward and from adjusting the minimum wage if the average percentage of inflation for the previous year was negative. The bill would require the IWC to publicize the automatically adjusted minimum wage.

Sick Leave 

SB 29 (Beall D) Employment: sick leave.

Existing law requires an employer to allow an employee to use his or her sick leave to care for an ill spouse, domestic partner, parent, or child, as defined. This bill would make technical, nonsubstantive changes to that provision and is currently a “spot bill” and one to watch.

CEQA 

SB 122 (Jackson D) California Environmental Quality Act: record of proceedings.

This bill is the starting point to where discussions left off last year with the Senate EQ Committee killed the primarty CEQA reform bill in 2014.

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires a lead agency, as defined, to prepare, or cause to be prepared, and certify the completion of, an environmental impact report (EIR) on a project that it proposes to carry out or approve that may have a significant effect on the environment or to adopt a negative declaration if it finds that the project will not have that effect. CEQA also requires a lead agency to prepare a mitigated negative declaration for a project that may have a significant effect on the environment if revisions in the project would avoid or mitigate that effect and there is no substantial evidence that the project, as revised, would have a significant effect on the environment. CEQA establishes a procedure for the preparation and certification of the record of proceedings upon the filing of an action or proceeding challenging a lead agency's action on the grounds of noncompliance with CEQA. This bill would require the lead agency, at the request of a project applicant and consent of the lead agency, to prepare a record of proceedings concurrently with the preparation of a negative declaration, mitigated negative declaration, EIR, or other environmental document for projects.

Apartment Water Submeters 

SB 7 (Wolk D) Housing: water meters: multiunit structures.

(1) Existing law generally regulates the hiring of dwelling units and, among other things, imposes certain requirements on landlords and tenants. Among these requirements, existing law requires landlords to provide tenants with certain notices or disclosures pertaining to, among other things, pest control and gas meters. This bill would express the intent of the Legislature to encourage the conservation of water in multifamily residential rental buildings through means either within the landlord’s or the tenant’s control, and to ensure that the practices involving the submetering of dwelling units for water service are just and reasonable, and include appropriate safeguards for both tenants and landlords. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws.

Economic Development
AB 2 (Alejo D) Community revitalization authority.

The Community Redevelopment Law authorizes the establishment of redevelopment agencies in communities to address the effects of blight, as defined by means of redevelopment projects financed by the issuance of bonds serviced by tax increment revenues derived from the project area. Existing law dissolved redevelopment agencies and community development agencies, as of February 1, 2012, and provides for the designation of successor agencies to wind down the affairs of the dissolved agencies and to fulfill the enforceable obligations of those agencies. Existing law also provides for various economic development programs that foster community sustainability and community and economic development initiatives throughout the state. This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would authorize certain local agencies to form a community revitalization authority within a community revitalization and investment area, as defined, to carry out provisions of the Community Redevelopment Law in that area for purposes related to, among other things, infrastructure, affordable housing, and economic revitalization, and to provide for the financing of these activities by, among other things, the issuance of bonds serviced by tax increment revenues.


SB 45 (Mendoza D) Economic development.Existing law provides for various economic development programs throughout the state that foster community sustainability and community and economic development. Existing law also authorizes local agencies to finance the purchase, construction, expansion, improvement, or rehabilitation of certain types of facilities. This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation that would authorize local governmental entities to use tax increment financing for the development of economic planning, infrastructure, and educational facilities.

ADA Lawsuit Reform

Below are three bills regarding reformation of ADA “drive-by” lawsuits. We expect several more bills on this topic.

SB 67 (Galgiani D) Disability access: statutory damages.
Summary: Would except a small business from statutory damage liability in connection with a construction-related accessibility claim, and would instead limit recovery to injunctive relief and reasonable attorney's fees as deemed appropriate by the court. The bill would also extend the period for correcting construction-related violations that are the basis of a claim from 60 days to 120 days of being served with the complaint, for purposes of reducing a defendant's minimum statutory damage liability to $1000.

AB 52 (Gray D) Public accommodations: construction-related accessibility claims.

Would provide that a defendant's maximum liability for statutory damages in a construction-related accessibility claim against a place of public accommodation is $1,000 for each offense if the defendant has corrected all construction-related violations that are the basis of the claim within 180 days of being served with the complaint and the defendant demonstrates that the structure or area of the alleged violation was determined to meet standards or was subjected to an inspection, as specified.

AB 54 (Olsen R) Public accommodations: construction-related accessibility claims.
Would, when a plaintiff brings a claim alleging a violation of a construction-related accessibility standard within 3 years of a change in that standard, allow a plaintiff to collect statutory damages only if the plaintiff also provides the owner, agent, or other party responsible for the place in violation with a written notice or demand letter at least 60 days prior to filing any action and the violation is not cured. The bill would require the written notice or demand letter to contain specified information.

Call Before You Dig Reform

This bill seeks to reform the state’s “call before you dig – 811” system. The current version of the bill removes all exemptions from calling. Question is, would this impact your operations? Are there instances where you break the surface of the ground that should not trigger a call. We’d like to hear from you.

SB 119 (Hill D) Protection of subsurface installations.

Would require the Contractors' State License Board to adopt a program to enforce violations of provisions relating to excavation. The bill would authorize the board to require a contractor to undergo training, levy a fine, and suspend a contractor's license for a violation.

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BOMA California is sharing these proposals as they are offered.  Please review them and suggest any policy ideas that you may have and/or support that could help the state meet these goals.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

San Francisco 2014 Gross Receipts Tax and Payroll Expense Tax Annual Return is LIVE - Accepting Submissions and Payment





UPDATE - January 25, 2015

BOMA San Francisco Members:

The San Francisco 2014 Gross Receipts Tax and Payroll Expense Tax Annual Return is LIVE and accepting submissions and payment. The Return can be accessed off the San Francisco Treasurer and Tax Collector's homepage: www.sftreasurer.org.

The Treasurer's office also updated the instruction booklet to reflect feedback from taxpayers. They have provided provide Release Notes, which are in Appendix C of the document.

Starting on Friday January 23, 2015 the Treasurer's office mailed notices to businesses informing them that that the filing is available. This notice also has the Personal Identification Number businesses will need to access the Return.
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Original Post - January 5, 2015

The Office of the Mayor in partnership with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector, and the Office of Small Business are joining forces to inform the more than 90,000 businesses in San Francisco about the new changes to the business tax structure.

For your assistance, the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector has created an Instruction Booklet and practice 2014 Gross Receipts Tax and Payroll Expense Tax Annual Practice Return.

As part of the City's effort to inform businesses of these changes, businesses and individuals can learn more by attending upcoming seminars and presentations. Check out the community calendar of upcoming events and meetings.

Upcoming Meetings

Business Tax Change SeminarEspañol 中文 /Tagalog (pdf)


Monday, January 12, 2015
3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
SF Main Library – 100 Larkin Street
Koret Auditorium

Thursday, January 22, 2015
6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
SF Main Library – 100 Larkin Street
Koret Auditorium

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
SF Main Library – 100 Larkin Street
Latino Room


 Business Tax Change and Gross Receipts calendar of meetings (Google)


The City provides a variety of resources to inform your business during this transition. Here are a few:

BOMA San Francisco Members Meet with Assessor Carmen Chu





BOMA San Francisco Members:

BOMA's Government Affairs Committee members have been meeting with public officials recently to represent your interests.  Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu spoke to our members in early January to discuss a recent 441D request and her department's efforts to increase efficiency for the benefit of all property owners in the City .  Here is a brief update from the gathering:

Department Performance

  • Assessor Chu is focused on improving the technology used in the department as it is outdated.
    • There are limited options for off-the-shelf software for assessors to replace the current system, AS400.  She wants to invest in the right program and will take the time to be sure the option selected is the most appropriate. 
  • 29 new people have been hired to increase work-flow.
    • New hires a key although promoting from within the Department is a priority.  
      • Without the right employees, services suffers. 
    • New Director of Information Technology was recently hired.
  • There is a parcel property file scanning plan for the digitization of older files.
  • Almost every service category within the Department (e.g., reassessments) are down.
New Revenue
  • Chu has been and continues to review revenue options from sources other than the general fund.
    • E.g., state grants.
Challenges

  • The Assessor is working on having a smarter on appeal process: no drop offs.  Assessment appeals are staff intensive work and sometimes the appeal is dropped.  Appeals board is a "gotcha situation," according to Chu, on both sides.  
    • There is not much information on property valuation.  Trying to work with the property owners more to help them help the Department and to move towards a more transparent system for both the property owner and assessor.    
  • BOMA members kindly request faster reassessments for tax purposes.
441D Letter - Letter Requesting Annual Report of Tenants, Rent Roll, and Leases
  • Detailed information about the requirements sent to select property owners can be found here.
    • The most recent letter went to approximately 800 property owners.  The missive is sent in cycles throughout the year.
  • The Assessor needs better data from property owners and businesses.
  • A tenant list is needed for required information that must be reported to the Assessor.  As such, the Assessor requests that business owners to file a 571L form - Business Property Statement.
  • Rent roll request
    • The Department is looking for revenue generated in individual buildings to distinguish the different tenants in the marketplace.

Friday, January 9, 2015

BOMA California Advocacy Update - Governor Jerry Brown's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals and the Industry's Response





BOMA San Francisco Members:

Governor Jerry Brown was sworn in for an historic fourth term as Governor recently. He took the occasion to also deliver his State of the Union speech. BOMA California  members congratulate the Governor for his re-election and applaud him for his efficiency.

During his speech, the Governor set a grand vision for where he want to take the State of California. The Governor focused on investment in all the major areas, transportation, health care, education, and water, although he did not outline any specific policy initiative – except for addressing climate change through greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions. His words are eloquent and interesting.  Click here to read Governor Brown 2015 State of the Union.

Indeed, with regard to GHG Reduction Governor Brown offered the following:
In fact, we are well on our way to meeting our AB 32 goal of reducing carbon pollution and limiting the emissions of heat-trapping gases to 431 million tons by 2020. But now, it is time to establish our next set of objectives for 2030 and beyond. 
Toward that end, I propose three ambitious goals to be accomplished within the next 15 years: 
  • Increase from one-third to 50 percent our electricity derived from renewable sources; 
  • Reduce today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50 percent; 
  • Double the efficiency of existing buildings and make heating fuels cleaner.

The Commercial Real Estate Industry's Response to the State of the Union Address

In response to the State of the Union, Rex Hime, President and CEO, California Business Properties Association, said the following on behalf of commercial real estate:
I congratulate the Governor Brown on his inauguration to an historic fourth term and applaud his leadership throughout the last four years. He has stabilized our state’s fiscal emergency. The next four years will bring many opportunities to address issues that can forever change our state for the better. We look forward to working with Governor on proposals -- to reduce unnecessary regulation and reform laws that create artificial business costs -- that will continue the economic recovery and unleash the investment and job growth that California deserves.

BOMA International Advocacy Update - BOMA Scores Win on Leasehold Depreciation and Congress Passes TRIA Reauthorization





BOMA San Francisco Members:

UPDATE - January 9, 2015

BOMA and its partners in the Coalition to Insure Against Terrorism scored a huge win for the commercial real estate industry today with the reauthorization of the federal terrorism risk insurance backstop program, known as TRIA. 

As soon as the 114th Congress convened this week, both chambers made it a priority to quickly put up for vote H.R. 26, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015. This afternoon, the Senate passed H.R. 26 by a vote of 93-4, following the House’s passage of the same legislation yesterday by an equally overwhelming majority of 416-5. The legislation extends the federal backstop for six years, gradually increasing the loss threshold that triggers federal assistance under the program from $100 million to $200 million. The 113th Congress had allowed the program to expire on December 31, 2014, despite bipartisan support for the issue.

With TRIA extended, BOMA International will now shift its efforts to advocating for certainty in the area of tax policy, as well as practical energy policy that makes sense for the commercial real estate industry and appropriately incentivizes buildings to continue to become more energy efficient.
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Original Post - December 14, 2014

Last night, the U.S. Senate approved a package of tax extenders, including a one-year, retroactive extension of the 15-year depreciation period for tenant improvements, which had previously expired at the end of 2013.  This means that building owners can deduct expenses for tenant improvements made in calendar year 2014 over 15 years instead of 39—a significant victory for commercial real estate!

Unfortunately, the Senate failed to extend the federal terrorism insurance backstop program, known as TRIA, which is set to expire on December 31.  Earlier this year, the Senate passed a seven-year extension with overwhelming bipartisan support. Debate on the issue dragged on in the House, and finally, in the Lame-Duck session, the House passed a different version that would have extended the program for six years; the bill then had to go back to the Senate for a final vote.  Unfortunately, it was not a clean bill and contained other provisions that were objectionable to many in the Senate.  TRIA has been a priority issue for BOMA and our real estate partners, and we will work to ensure that this is on the top of the congressional agenda when the 114th Session convenes on January 6.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Innovative EARTH Awards Applications Available - Due on February 23, 2015


 



BOMA's Innovative EARTH Award highlights the unique, innovative measures members are implementing in pursuit of environmental sustainability. The application is short, easy to complete, and limited documentation is required. Any BOMA member may enter.
  • Innovations should seek to address these issues within the building: 
  • Energy conservation; 
  • Waste diversion; 
  • Water conservation; 
  • Hazardous materials management; 
  • Transportation; 
  • Tenant education; 
  • Or, any other new and interesting sustainable practice. 
An example of an innovation might be a vegetable garden for tenants, or a tenant carpool or vanpool coordinated by the building. Not sure what projects to submit? Click here to view all 2014 entries and view our motivational video, below. 




Applications for BOMA's new Innovative Earth Award are due February 23, 2015, and will be reviewed by the Energy and Environment Committee. Winners will be announced at the BOMA Innovative Earth Award luncheon on April 23, 2015.

APPLY TODAY - Submit completed application to Nicole Cui. For assistance in completing the application, please contact Jenna Hattersley.

BOMA International 2015 Advocacy Update - Free Webinar on Monday, January 12th



BOMA San Francisco Members


Date: Monday, January 12, 2015
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PST
Location: Your desk – or anywhere with internet access!
Cost: FREE 

Want to know where TRIA, Leasehold Depreciation and other key BOMA issues stand? Join BOMA International's Advocacy Team for this free webinar featuring briefings on all of BOMA’s legislative and regulatory issues. Previously, BOMA’s Advocacy staff updated members during the Government Affairs Committee at the annual Winter Business Meeting. This year, Advocacy is shaking things up and setting aside that in-person time for strategic planning and discussion.

This is your chance to get caught up on key legislation and issues important to BOMA members and see what staff is doing to make your voice heard on Capitol Hill and in the agencies.


In this webinar, you will:

  • Understand what the political climate is at the beginning of the 2015 year (114th Congress) and where the issues that most impact BOMA members stand. 
  • Learn all legislative and regulatory concerns that BOMA staff is monitoring on BOMA members behalf. 
  • Hear what the issues updates are as this webinar is replacing the issue updates that are held during the Government Affairs Committee at the 2015 Annual Winter Business Meeting. 
Speakers: 




Karen Penafiel
Vice President, Advocacy, Codes & Standards
BOMA International 




Jason Todd
Director, Federal Affairs
BOMA International 




Emily Naden, LEED® Green Associate
Manager, Advocacy
BOMA International 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Important Message from The San Francisco Department of Emergency Management - Past Inclement Weather of December 11-12, 2014




BOMA San Francisco Members:

Our partners (via BOMA's Emergency Preparedness Committee) at the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management ask that you please take the time to fill out the survey to assess damages, inconveniences and costs to the private sector resulting from the past inclement weather of December 11-12, 2014.

The survey data will be used to inform the City about post-storm impacts and will also be used as a means to improve future follow-up with our business community after an incident or disaster.

Some of the survey questions will involve you making estimates of lost revenue, repair costs, costs of lost inventory and payroll expenditures. While these questions are optional, we ask that you do your best to make an estimate. The survey is anonymous unless you choose to provide your contact information.

Additionally, the U.S. Small Business Administration is offering disaster assistance in San Francisco and in the neighboring counties of Alameda, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and San Mateo. For more information please refer to the SBA press release.

For additional questions regarding the survey please reach out to:

Sean O'Mara
Private Sector Liaison
San Francisco Department of Emergency Management
sean.omara@sfgov.org

Regina Dick-Endrizzi
Director
Office of Small Business
regina.dick-endrizzi@sfgov.org


Manish Goyal
Program Manager
Office of Economic & Workforce Development
manish.goyal@sfgov.org​

UPDATE - San Francisco Gross Receipts/Business Tax Seminars and Annual Practice Return




BOMA San Francisco Members:

The Office of the Mayor in partnership with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the Office of the Treasurer and Tax Collector, and the Office of Small Business are joining forces to inform the more than 90,000 businesses in San Francisco about the new changes to the business tax structure.

For your assistance, the Office of the Treasurer & Tax Collector has created an Instruction Booklet and practice 2014 Gross Receipts Tax and Payroll Expense Tax Annual Practice Return.

As part of the City's effort to inform businesses of these changes, businesses and individuals can learn more by attending upcoming seminars and presentations. Check out the community calendar of upcoming events and meetings.

Upcoming Meetings

Business Tax Change Seminar/ Español / 中文 /Tagalog (pdf)


Monday, January 12, 2015
3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
SF Main Library – 100 Larkin Street
Koret Auditorium

Thursday, January 22, 2015
6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
SF Main Library – 100 Larkin Street
Koret Auditorium

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
3:00 - 4:30 p.m.
SF Main Library – 100 Larkin Street
Latino Room


Business Tax Change and Gross Receipts calendar of meetings (Google)


The City provides a variety of resources to inform your business during this transition. Here are a few:

UPDATE - San Francisco Tax Collector Regulations Enacted





UPDATE - January 5, 2015

The San Francisco Tax Collector has promulgated Tax Collector Regulations 2014-1, 2014-2, and 2014-3. The regulations, as well as the recording of the public hearing held prior to declaration, as well as all written comment submitted in response to the draft regulations can be found here.

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Original Post - December 8, 2014

BOMA San Francisco Members:

As you know, BOMA members have been active in representing your interests with regard  to the implementation of San Francisco's Gross Receipts Tax and Business Registration Fees Ordinance.  More information can be found here.  

Please review the proposed San Francisco Tax Collector Regulations, below, and, if these requirements affect your business, attend this upcoming public hearing to discuss your concerns:


Wednesday, December 10, 2014 - 2:00pm
1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl
City Hall Room 408
San Francisco, CA 94102 

Pursuant to authority granted under Section 6.16-1 of the San Francisco Business and Tax Regulations Code BTRC the San Francisco Tax Collector invites the public to comment on the following proposed regulations:

The hearing will be on December 10th, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. in room 408 of City Hall. The proposed regulations are above and available at www.sfgov.org/tax. You may comment at the hearing; written comments may also be submitted at the hearing. You will be able to address the Tax Collector during the public comments period.

Questions?  Please contact: Greg Kato, Gross Receipts Tax Director: Greg.Kato@sfgov.or: 

Apture