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New law benefits New York City commercial tenants

New York City commercial tenants have many potential issues with which to contend. From standing out amid the competition, to advertising, to potential landlord-tenant disputes, there are many issues that might arise in the daily life of a commercial tenant. Under a new law, however, they may have one less concern.

Recently, New York City Mayor de Blasio signed into law an amendment to the New York City administrative code known as Introduction Number 851-B. The law is designed to eliminate harassment by landlords of small businesses and other commercial tenants by imposing penalties on offending landlords. In the event a commercial tenant is harassed by a landlord, that tenant may bring a cause of action in court. A successful cause of action may result in a civil penalty for a landlord of between $1,000 and $10,000. Additionally, a court may also impose punitive, compensatory, equitable and injunctive damages as it deems appropriate.

Commercial landlord harassment may take many forms. From a landlord discontinuing a basic service such as electricity or heat, conducting unnecessary repairs or construction that interferes with a tenant's business operations or preventing tenants from entering the premises, landlords who exhibit this sort of behavior are often trying to get a tenant to agree to a substantially higher monthly rent payment than initially agreed to under a commercial lease. Additionally, a landlord may harass a tenant by repeatedly bringing frivolous lawsuits against a tenant.

This legislation is particularly good news for New York City small businesses. A business owner who is dealing with harassment from a commercial landlord may wish to consult with an attorney regarding his or her legal options in light of this new law.

Source: amsterdamnews.com, "New York City enacts commercial tenant harassment reform," June 30, 2016

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