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Commercial Rent Control in New York: Back Again?

As retail vacancies have multiplied in New York City in recent years, some in the City Council have advocated for the reconsideration of commercial rent control, as set out in a proposed piece of legislation, the Small Business Jobs Survival Act This article provides a brief, nontechnical review of the bill and the legal and practical hurdles it faces if enacted.

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For generations, New York’s Rent Control and Rent Stabilization Laws, which limit the amount of rent residential tenants may be charged and provide other protections, have been fixtures of New York real estate. For a time (1945-1963), New York City (the City) had a rent control statute applicable to commercial tenants, but that law expired, after which commercial rent control disappeared from the policy landscape. However, as retail vacancies have multiplied in the City in recent years, some in the City Council have advocated for the reconsideration of commercial  rent control, as set out in a proposed piece of legislation, the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (Intro 737). §22-1202, et seq. This article provides a brief, nontechnical review of the bill and the legal and practical hurdles it faces if enacted.

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