by Adam Roberts
Commercial tenants have been hit very hard by the current crisis. Healthwise, rules around working from home have limited the ability of tenants to use the spaces they pay rent for. Financially, these rents are increasingly burdensome, since the shutdown of certain industries has eliminated revenue streams. As a result, policymakers have examined various proposals to provide some relief to tenants.
Last month, Governor Cuomo signed the “New York State on PAUSE” Executive Order, an update of Executive Order 202.6, which halted evictions and foreclosures for 90 days starting March 22, 2020. The executive order pertains to both commercial and residential businesses. While helpful for many businesses and residents, it does not provide any actual rent relief, simply deferring evictions until June 2020.
State and City legislators have sought to go further than the Governor and provide some sort of rent forgiveness or relief. There are many proposals in Albany, the most notable being A10224/S8125, which would suspend rent for 90 days for certain commercial and residential tenants. There is also the Tenant Safe Harbor Act, a State bill not yet introduced, which would extend the eviction moratorium to six months after the end of the crisis for residential tenants. The City Council is looking to go further, with Speaker Corey Johnson proposing Int. 1912-2020, which would pause evictions and debt collections until April 2021.
AIANY has heard a great deal from its members about the struggles of paying commercial rents, as well as the lack of flexibility offered by some landlords. Therefore, AIANY has expressed its support for the suspension and deferment of commercial rent and eviction. We will continue to advocate on this issue and will update you as further proposals arise.