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for lease signThe Small Business Jobs Survival Act (the Act) bill currently before the New York City Council seeks to regulate all commercial leases affecting property in the City of New York. The bill was introduced by Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez on March 22, 2018. The bill is predicated on the proposition that “New York City is more dependent than ever on small businesses for job growth and revenues” (the Act, §1) and that rising property values and other factors influencing the commercial rental market including real estate speculators have created a situation where “established small businesses are being forced out of business solely as a result of the commercial lease renewal process” (the Act, §1). The bill states that this has led to “lost jobs, tax revenues and community instability” (the Act, §1). The bill’s stated intention is “to give small businesses rights in the commercial lease renewal process, and therefore, a measure of predictability of future costs through a two-step procedure of mediation and, if necessary, arbitration for negotiating commercial lease renewals and rentals” (the Act, §1).

From a substantive perspective, the bill would provide all commercial tenants in New York City with the absolute right to a renewal of their lease. The renewal term would be for a minimum of 10 years. Rent under the renewal lease would first be subject to mediation and then to binding arbitration.

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