A group of New York City Council members, led by Ydanis Rodriguez of the 10th District, recently re-submitted legislation that aims to give small business owners more agency when renegotiating the leases for their commercial spaces. Variations of this bill have been kicking around for some time, but the latest incarnation has been dubbed the 'Small Business Jobs Survival Act' (SBJSA).
The website dedicated to the SBJSA describes its mission as such:
“It offers the only opportunity to restore economic equality to our business owners, save our art and cultural institutions, maintain the character of our neighborhoods, save the best pathway to social mobility for the majority of low-income families, and reestablish NYC as the Gateway for the American Dream.”
The bill proposes to do this via a three-pronged approach that involves:
- establishing a 10-year minimum for leases and right to renew, to allow businesses adequate time in which to establish themselves at a particular location
- granting tenants more agency when negotiating renewal by turning landlord/tenant disagreements over to third-party arbitration
- restricting landlords from passing property taxes down to businesses.
While some small business advocates support the motivation behind the bill, they're skeptical about whether it will be executed effectively. Writing in an opinion piece for Metro this past March, attorney Marni Halasa voiced her hesitation: