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Last fall, New York City, through regulations enacted by the City Council, strengthened existing protections for small business tenants from perceived landlord “harassment.” Much has happened since—as we in the COVID era know too well—but these protections, largely without parallel in this country, have recently been judicially applied and interpreted for the first time. These developments bear exploring, as some tenants may well deploy such harassment claims when needing otherwise unavailable relief in lease disputes following the re-opening of the courts and easing of governmental closures. The laws and times change—litigants adapt.

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