Supporting Small Business Survival in NYC

Legislative Advocacy

TakeRoot supports campaign to create Commercial Rent Stabilization in NYC.

As part of the USBnyc Coalition (2018-2023), we helped pass the law that created mandatory storefront registrations and the resultant publicly available data, a requirement that the city do regular reporting on the state of storefronts in New York City’s community district and the City’s first ever commercial tenant harassment law, giving tenants the right to sue landlords who engage in harassment.

Selected Press

Next City: Maybe Commercial Rent Shouldn’t Be a Wedge Between Low-Income Housing and Local Business | Jan. 4, 2022

Artnet News: How Dozens of Gallery Expansions Hide the Brutal Reality of Real Estate Today—and How a Proposed Law Could Help (and Other Insights) | April 13, 2022

New Yorker: Casa Adela and the Dreams of Loisaida | Dec. 30, 2021

Curbed: Most Storefront Rents in New York Are As High As Ever | Oct. 6, 2021

Gothamist: In Pandemic’s Aftermath, Calls Grow For NYC To Regulate Commercial Rents | Sept. 16, 2021


Testimony Before the New York City Council Consumer and Worker Protection on Street Vendor Equity (Dec. 15, 2023) – “As our City’s smallest businesses, street vendors reflect the great diversity of our communities, and are a true embodiment of the entrepreneurial spirit of our city. Innovating, creating, and investing in our local economies, vendors are out every day to provide for their families and feed their neighbors—often targeted and criminalized for doing so.”

Testimony to the NYC City Council Committee on Small Business on Commercial Vacancy, the Storefront Registry and Proposed Legacy Business Fund (June 9, 2022) – “Our clients–repair shop owners, barbers, restauranteurs serving culturally appropriate food to their immigrant communities–are regularly hit with 50-100% rent increases at the end of their lease terms, foreclosing the possibility of renewal and effectively functioning as evictions. Their landlords fantasize that they will make way for higher-paying commercial tenants but, often instead, result in years-long commercial vacancies in anticipation of the higher-paying tenants that do not arrive. The City Council can help our clients and tenants like them avoid displacement-through speculation by regulating commercial rents. The strategies that Council is focused on at today’s hearing do not reach this crucial aspect of curbing vacancy and protecting NYC neighborhoods.” Video here; 1:22:00.

Testimony to the NYC City Council Committee on Small Business on SBS’s Response to COVID-19 (March 7, 2022) – “Today, the most frequent case I see is a small business with 3-6 months of rent still due from Spring 2020, with average arrears of $40,000, seeking financial assistance to resolve that debt to avoid eviction and bankruptcy. Even if business has come back and they were able to pay after reopening, there is no way for a business like a barber shop or sewing machine repair to make enough money to pay for months when it made none.”

Testimony in Support of Commercial Rent Stabilization to the Small Business Committee of the NYC City Council (Sept. 17, 2021) – “Unregulated commercial rents regularly result in rent increases of over 100%… We urge the City to use its powers under the New York State municipal home rule and its police powers to regulate the commercial leasing market. In stark contrast with the regulation and control of housing accommodations,5 there is no state statute like the Urstandt law forbidding the City from regulating commercial leases and no current State regulation of that area of the economy. Absent such law or regulation the City is free to act; in the current climate, where rent escalations are forcing small businesses out daily, it is imperative that it does.”