Below are the past results of the Coalition’s work:
- Commercial Tenant Harassment Law: The Commercial Tenant Harassment Law in New York City prohibits a landlord from harassing their commercial tenants by way of making discriminatory threats (e.g., age, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.), requesting citizenship status, and interfering with a tenant’s construction or repairs. If a landlord does harass their tenant, they can be fined up to $50,000 per property and a court can deny that landlord construction plans at the building until the harassment has ceased.
- Storefront Tracker Legislation: The City now has to maintain a public and searchable database – a Storefront Tracker – that requires landlords to report the median rents, lease terms, and vacancies of all first and second floor commercial spaces. This data will allow policymakers, advocates, and community members to track vacancy trends in their own neighborhoods and communities while holding landlords accountable for failing to register. Aggregate data is now available here (as of July 1, 2021). More details on the required registration is here on the NYC Department of Finance website.
- State of the Storefronts Legislation: The City is now required to conduct a comprehensive analysis of neighborhood commercial corridors every five years. Very little data exists about commercial spaces in the city, which means we have a very unclear picture of how vast our commercial vacancy issue is. This legislation – the State of the Storefronts – gives policymakers and advocates the necessary information to create meaningful protections for New York’s commercial tenants.
Post-COVID, TakeRoot has been at the forefront of advocacy for the cancellation of commercial rents for businesses impacted by the crisis and making sure that small businesses have access to resources as they become available.
Since 2018, TakeRoot’s Equitable Neighborhoods and Capacity Building practices provided legal services to small businesses taking on their landlords in negotiations for repairs, lease renewals and fair treatment under their contract as a provider under the Department of Small Business Services Commercial Lease Assistance program. If you are a business owner looking for a lawyer, you can request assistance here.
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.”