Between 1945-63, there were commercial rent controls in the city of New York. That has long gone so how are small businesses in the region meant to thrive? Indeed, in 2016 Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce member Patricia Dorfman said:
“It feels as though a great tsunami is coming towards us: big real estate dominating the city. You’re talking about life rafts and water wings when a tsunami is coming.”
So what plans are there to rectify this? At the end of next month the plan is for a hearing to be held on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA), a Bill sponsored by Ydanis Rodriguez. Should it come to fruition it would mean landlords would have to give commercial tenants 180 days before lease expiration on whether it will be renewed and if not, provide a “valid legal reason.” A 10 year lease could also be offered, thus putting tenants in a more powerful position to “demand arbitration if they believe the rent increase is too much.”
According to Friends of SBJSA member David Eisenbach there is “extreme optimism that the essential principles of the bill will remain intact.”
It is hoped that the hearing will provide an opportunity for policymakers to hear real stories about the closing of small businesses in New York City due to lack of control over rent increases.
Before getting too excited though, according to a recent article in The Real Deal by David Jeans, the law: “would not stand up in court…lacks legal grounding and has been proposed several times in the past.” It would also cause “inconsistencies with state law.”