BOMA International Positions On FIRPTA And Data Access

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The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International’s Board of Governors recently passed two new policy positions in response to important, emerging issues. Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act (FIRPTA) Policy Position: BOMA International supports amending, if not the outright repeal of, FIRPTA to increase the amount of foreign capital invested in the U.S. commercial real estate market. Background: FIRPTA discourages the investment of foreign capital in U.S. real estate by treating a gain or loss by a foreign investor from the sale of a U.S. Real Property Interest (“USRPI”) as if such gain or loss were effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business. Such policy is completely at odds with the tax treatment of other types of investments. Currently, a foreign investor faces no U.S. tax liability from income realized from other forms of investments, such as stocks and bonds or the interest earned on U.S. bank accounts, to name a few. Therefore, BOMA International supports amending, if not the outright repeal, of FIRPTA. Energy Use Data Acquisition Policy Position: Utilities must provide whole building energy consumption data (units of usage) to building owners and managers. Ideally, utilities should utilize the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s ENERGY STAR® automated benchmarking services that allow them to upload energy consumption data directly into the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager benchmarking tool. The inability of commercial building owners to access whole‐building energy data, including energy consumption data in separately metered tenant spaces, restricts the capacity of both building owners and tenants to make informed decisions to drive energy efficiency improvements. Whole building aggregate data provides vital information to the building owner while protecting the privacy concerns of tenants. Background: Many building owners lack access to energy consumption data for separately metered tenant spaces in their buildings and since the tenant—not the building owner—owns the data, most utilities will only provide tenant energy consumption data to the building owner/manager with the permission of the tenant. In a large building with many separately metered tenants, it is not practical to obtain what could potentially amount to hundreds of signatures. Facility managers who lack access to their building’s energy consumption data have difficulty making informed decisions to drive efficiency and are also unable to comply with the growing number of state/local mandatory benchmarking and disclosure requirements. Providing the robust benchmarking information that building owners need will also benefit the energy providers by helping them to achieve their demand‐side management (DSM) goals. BOMA International has formed a coalition to educate key influencers and stakeholders that any benchmarking requirements imposed on building owners must include whole building data access. “These two new policy positions were created to encourage investment in commercial real estate, spur economic recovery and help property professionals green our nation’s building stock,” commented BOMA International Chair Ray H. Mackey, Jr., RPA, CPM, CCIM, partner and chief operating officer, Stream Realty Partners, L.P. “These policies will help our advocacy teams on the national, state and local levels educate lawmakers on the importance of establishing law and procedures that support commercial real estate.”

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