From Meatpacking’s Hogs & Heifers to the East Village’s Other Music and Prospect Height’s Empire Mayo, the list of beloved small businesses being forced out due to rising rents keeps growing — and so have the calls for greater protections for mom-and-pop shops.
Mayor Bill de Blasio is expected to sign legislation Tuesday establishing safeguards to prevent harassment of commercial tenants, just as there are policies protecting residential tenants.
The legislation aims to make it easier for small businesses to stay in the city, many advocates said.
It would allow small business owners, who felt they were harassed in some way and wrongfully pushed to vacate their space, to recover possession of property, attorney fees and damages amounting to one month’s rent or $1,000 from the landlord — whichever is greater — among other costs.
Harassment includes threats, unnecessary construction or repairs on the property that interfered with business, interruptions to essential services like heat or hot water, and the use of “frivolous” court proceedings against a tenant.