To wrap-up our coverage of the Winter Business Meeting & National Issues Conference, here are the issues affecting the commercial real estate industry that we spoke with our Congressional delegation about.Terrorism Risk Insurance: In the aftermath of 9/11 many owners of commercial properties were informed by their insurance providers that terrorism would be excluded from their policies. Without terrorism insurance it is difficult, and perhaps impossible, to operate or acquire properties or refinance loans.In 2002, Congress passed the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) to provide a federal backstop. It was extended in 2007 and is set to expire at the end of 2014. BOMA International will advocate for the TRIA to be extended until the insurance industry is prepared to accurately underwrite and assume the whole risk.Leasehold Depreciation: Depreciating leasehold improvements at a rate of 1/39th per year until the improvement goes “out of service” runs counter both to common sense and the reality of the marketplace. BOMA International will continue to advocate for leasehold improvements to be put on a permanent 15-year depreciation schedule.Fire Sprinkler and Roof Tax Incentives: Retrofitting a building for fire sprinklers is an expensive and labor intensive endeavor. With fire safety being as critical as it is to commercial properties, it only makes sense for tax incentives to aide in this process. The incentives will be especially attractive to older buildings that were built before there were any fire sprinkler guidelines or requirements.New roofs protect the integrity of the entire building structure, increase energy efficiency, and add to the economy as a whole by spurring activity within the construction industry. Older, less efficient roofs are a daunting financial project to finance. Tax incentives will help property owners and managers replace dangerous and nonperforming roofs. Both fire sprinklers and roofs are on the unreasonable 39-year depreciation schedule.
The five members of Congress that our delegation met with consisted of: U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, and U.S. Representatives Marcia Fudge, David Joyce, Marcy Kaptur, and Jim Renacci. You can see pictures from our legislative visits on page 10.The Government Affairs Committee for BOMA International also approved two new policy positions regarding EV (Electric Vehicle) charging stations and e-cigarettes. The new policies support the rights of property owners to decide whether or not to install EV charging stations at their buildings and support the rights of property owners to establish appropriate policies and procedures, subject to prevailing federal, state, and local laws, for e-cigarettes.