Chhaya CDC is a member of the United for Small Business NYC (USBNYC) Coalition. Since “Pause” has been put into effect state-wide, small businesses have borne a huge burden. Unable to open their doors or losing significant revenue as New Yorkers follow orders to stay home, businesses are still responsible for rents that have risen drastically every year. It is unjust for the government to force businesses to shut down and still require them to pay exorbitant rents. At Chhaya, we aim to protect the immigrant-owned small businesses that make Jackson Heights such a richly diverse neighborhood. Without canceling rents, we fear that these businesses will have to close, changing the neighborhood forever.
What do we want?
- An order mandating that landlords provide full rent abatement to small businesses and other commercial tenants that were closed by State’s PAUSE order and those businesses that rely on people coming in physically who were themselves ordered to stay home during the present emergency, and those that have seen a drop in revenue (as a result of the PAUSE order)
- Presumption that all small businesses and other commercial tenants are impacted by stay-at-home order
- Full abatement of rent, not just a delay in collection
- Abatement must trump any lease language that purports to limit government power to restrict or abate rent collection
- ASAP, retroactive to the declaration of emergency on 3/7/2020
For how long?
- For as long as government orders are in effect, e.g. until the current end of the state of emergency on 9/7/2020 or any later extension
- Graduated rent abatements for small businesses and other commercial tenants that will rely on people coming in physically after government orders closing businesses are lifted
What will happen if there is no mandatory rent abatement for commercial tenants?
- Small businesses and other commercial tenants will rack up debt that they’ll never be able to repay
- There will be a wave of evictions following the end of the statewide eviction moratorium, and commercial spaces will be bought up by chain retailers and private equity firms
- Small business owners and other commercial tenants will make irreversible decisions to close forever based on the inability to pay the rent for the duration of the emergency, not their chances of making business work in a post-COVID-19 world
- New Yorkers will lose crucial employment opportunities, impacting both our current workforce and our ability to recover from the emergency
What about landlords?
- The fiscal crisis that landlords renting out commercial spaces are facing now is real, but it cannot be resolved on the backs of their tenants
- For small and non-profit landlords who can’t afford to lose rental income, we support the creation of a hardship fund to provide relief to eligible property owners.
For more information about cancel commercial rent, please contact our Small Business Program Manager Shrima Pandey at firstname.lastname@example.org