SMALL BUSINESSES

Small businesses are in a crisis over their rents

"We are horrified by the urban blight of nearly 200 empty storefronts on Broadway and the corporate takeover of the entire metropolis by chain stores."

Small business keep closing due to spiraling increases in rents upon the renewal of commercial leases

The seemingly never-ending increases in rents that tenants face is also affecting small businesses. When some small businesses try to renew their commercial leases, many say that they face a doubling, a tripling, or a quadrupling of their commercial rent. This leads to business closures and job losses. In an article in the 2017, the New York Times estimated that the vacancy rate caused by small business closures was reaching 20 per cent. in some neighborhoods. And it is not just mom and pop shops, or New York institutions, like Café Edison or the St. Marks Bookshop, that are bearing the brunt. Even alongst the blocks of expensive boutiques of upper Madison Avenue, the Times’ report noted 37 empty store fronts.

Advocates for small businesses have been advocating for almost three decades for passage of Municipal legislation to make commercial lease renewal a fair process. Leveling the playing field between landlords and small business owners, the Small Business Jobs Survival Act, or SBJSA, gives commercial tenants a minimum 10-year lease at a fair rent, the right to renew that lease, and mandatory arbitration to negotiate rent increases.

You now have a New York City that doesn't look like itself

"With a crisis on our hands, it’s time that the interests of the community are not just balanced against private property rights, but supersede them when necessary."

When will New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson call for a hearing on the SBJSA ?

When small businesses can’t afford to renew their leases, their owners close their businesses, and they lay-off their employees. Statistics from the Small Business Congress show that, in some months, 1,200 businesses can close, with about 8,000 New Yorkers losing their jobs.

Against this backdrop and under political pressure to do something about it, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea) has promised to hold a public hearing to debate the SBJSA. Small business owners and advocacy groups are waiting for Speaker Johnson to call a public hearing for the SBJSA.