11 thoughts on “Trepidation Around Proposal for Regulating Store Rents in NYC

  1. Commercial landlords are squeezed by higher NYC property assessments which effectively means higher NYC property taxes. Add higher NYC water taxes and the generally expensive nature of commercial property ownership in NYC and you can understand why commercial landlords have had to raise rents.

  2. This story is filled with misinformation, half truths , and real estate talking points for politicians to hide behind. I can’t fact check or set the record straight in one response. Thankfully, most NYers know the power and influence of REBNY (real estate lobby) at City Hall as well as understand fully the crisis faced by our small businesses caused by sky high rents. Statement: A variety of solutions have been proposed to address the crisis, from zoning restrictions on chain stores to the provision of below-market commercial space in city-sponsored developments. Still others argue there’s only one real solution: establishing a right to lease renewal.
    Fact: there is only one proposal pending before the city council , Small Business Jobs Survival Act which gives both the right of renewal and the right to negotiate fair lease terms. * the others argue there’s only one real solution comes from the small business advocates who know best the real problems facing small business owners. Also, this came from the entire Small Business Committee in 2009 lead by Chairman David Yassky. As well as 32 councilmembers with the loudest champion for the bill being then council member Bill de Blasio followed by then council member Mark-Viverito.

  3. Statement: The long-sought Small Business Jobs Survival Act, …..has been kicking around City Council for three decades.
    Fact: In 2009, the SB Jobs Survival Act had 32 sponsors and Chairman Yassky stated at the public hearing on the bill, “I will say simply as an opening statement that I believe that we absolutely have to do something, period….It’s not an option to do nothing. We cannot allow them to be pushed to the point of disappearance, which is what is happening now.. I will tell you right away, my inclination is to support this bill. If it’s not going to be this bill, then I want to hear what the alternative is for how we’re going to help small businesses in this difficult time. The one thing I just want to put right up front with the administration witnesses here is we have to have some solutions to offer.” Does this sound like a bill collecting dust spinning its wheels? Repeating a false statement fed to you by REBNY will not make it the truth. The SB Jobs Survival Act was ready to be unanimously passed by the Small Business Committee and overwhelmingly passed by the full council.

  4. Statement: Its progress hampered by questions about the bill’s legality.
    Fact: The SB Jobs Survival Act is the most legally scrutinized bill in council history. The legal debate on commercial lease renewal legislation dates back to 1945 when the Commercial Rent Control law was first enacted to protect small businesses from sky high rent increases. What the reporter states “the law was challenger repeatedly in the courts, and ultimately the legislature allowed it to expire in 1963” is true. But what is purposely not stated is that the highest courts in NYS upheld the law every time over 18 year period. Not a single legal challenge by real estate was ever won in court. It is for that reason the real estate lobby only refers to a single court ruling in Calf. which overturned a commercial rent law. But the NYS and SB Jobs Survival Act bills were written with landlord property clauses and the Calf bill had none making this case completely irrelevant.
    Fact: all this legal questioning is only one thing : a desperate legal roadblock cooked up by REBNY to stop a vote on the SB Jobs Survival Act.

  5. Statement: Opponents argue the bill would interfere with the natural evolution of neighborhoods, discourage businesses from investing in their expansion and violate the constitution.
    Fact: The Commercial Rent Control bill was in effect for 18 straight years. What was the negative consequences or unintended consequences to NYers and our economy REBNY claims would happen? None, not a single case of landlords being denied a reasonable return can be presented by REBNY. The economy flourished when the real estate speculators were thrown out of the market and fair rents were restored. REBNY’s age old mantra from speculators who’s greed is destroying our economy can be heard today, “government shouldn’t interfere in the market place and with the natural evolution of neighborhoods”. How natural is it when landlords throw out long time established businesses and leave the space empty for sometimes years? How natural is it when long term businesses are given month to month leases to allow the landlord the opportunity to rent to deep pocket chains and banks? Or extorting cash from poor immigrant owners under the threat of pay up or get out, is that the natural market place REBNY is referring to?

  6. Statement: continued doubts about the bill’s legality keep it from getting a hearing. Councilmembers Jumaane Williams and Brad Lander—early supporters of the bill—have both withdrawn their sponsorship. Some sources, who spoke on background, told City Limits there were concerns because rent regulation is within the state’s, not the city’s, jurisdiction.

    Fact: Every legislation is amended and compromised, yet all the so called progressives refuse, along with Speaker’s office to recommend amendments to the bill , why? Because it would take away their only excuse to not support giving rights to the business owners to survive. Not a single council members , especially those claiming to be progressive can state a plausible rational for not giving rights to small business who face a crisis to survive. Therefore, they hide behind REBNY’s bogus legal roadblock or worse make the ridiculous claim the city doesn’t have jurisdiction. This claim is a disgrace, how do these “unnamed sources”, explain how a vote was taken on the original version of the bill on Sept 1, 1988, which the reporter takes pains to highlight, when former Mayor Koch and Speaker Vallone were adamantly apposed to the bill? Why didn’t the largest lobby in NYC REBNY make this challenge at the June 2009 Hearing on the bill ? Why is there even a bill with 27 sponsors before the council if the city doesn’t have the authority?
    Absurd and desperate characterize these claims on behalf of REBNY to deny democracy to the city’s mom and pop. The issue of Home Rule was decided at a special legal hearing on the original bill and the City’s own Corporate Council said the city has home rule and the bill was constitutional.

  7. Statement: John Banks, the president of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) in a statement sent to City Limits… “However, such feelings don’t justify unconstitutional legislation like the Small Business Jobs Survival Act.”
    Fact: The largest lobby in NYC with the resources for the top attorneys in NYC , has never put in writing a single case law supporting their legal claim against the bill. To everyone’s surprise REBNY never once at the public hearing on the SB Jobs Survival Act made any legal claims against the bill . Nor did they give testimony at a special Legal Review of the Bill held by Bronx Borough President Diaz in 2010. Maybe someday a professional journalist will request from REBNY the legal documents to substantiate their claim before they print their claim as having any credible legal merit. The same MO applies to all the so called progressive council memberss who repeat this false bogus legal roadblock when they have ZERO proof to back the claim up. When REBNY’s Banks issues a statement “unconstitutional legislation like the Small Business Jobs Survival Act”, without any written proof , you can bet it does not exist.

  8. Statement: In a statement sent to City Limits on Wednesday morning, City Hall offered a straightforward rejection of the bill.
    “The administration recognizes the growing challenges small businesses face finding space they can afford, but has not supported commercial rent control. We are working to lower small businesses’ costs in other ways,” said Raul Contreras, assistant press secretary for the mayor. The administration is concerned that if commercial rents are decided through arbitration, landlords of mixed-use buildings might raise the rents of residential tenants to compensate for the profits they could not make from commercial tenants. Contreras listed a variety of other measures that the city is taking to reduce the burden on small businesses, including streamlining regulations, reducing fines and providing pro-bono legal services to help businesses negotiate their leases.

    Fact: de Blasio’s statement is an insult to every hard working small business owner. Its an insult to democracy and a betrayal of progressive values. It exposes him as a total “hypocrite” who flipped on standing up for mom and pop and instead took REBNY’s money and kept Bloomberg’s anti small business polity in place. Shame on him for calling the legislation Commercial Rent control when a few year’s ago he championed the arbitration bill as fair and just and needed by our struggling businesses.
    First, small businesses challenges isn’t finding affordable space as he states. Its surviving in the location they built into a successful business. To remake the problems faced by small businesses is a disgraceful act. Every NYer knows the small businesses face a real crisis to survive caused by out of control rents. To say “we are working to lower businesses costs” is double talk when you really mean we are working to protect the windfall profits of real estate. Shameful to purposely mislead the public that somehow by giving rights to business owners that residential tenants will suffer, “landlords of mixed-use buildings might raise the rents of residential tenants to compensate for the profits they could not make from commercial tenants.” What a lie, landlords are making huge profits for decades and regulating them so they would make only a reasonable profit will not result in any loss to society, only benifits. Mayor de Blasio is using his entire administration to cover up the negative consequences to NYer’s resulting from rent gouging, extortion, short term leases, and paying the landlords property taxes.
    Mayor de Blasio is a disaster for small businesses’ future. He has made zero effort to even acknowledge they face a crisis let alone want to create legislation which would offer a real solution to save them. If the hallmark of leadership for a legislator is how they handle a crisis, de Blasio has failed miserably on the small business crisis.

  9. point of correction, there are 5 sponsors for this bill who are on the Small Business Committee. Menchaca, Ulrich, Dickens, Koslowitz and Eugene

  10. Pingback: Commercial Real Estate NYC vs. Small Businesses - Townsquared

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