A bill that will soon be proposed in the City Council would provide small businesses in New York City with free legal counsel if they are facing eviction.
City Councilman Mark Levine plans to introduce the bill on Wednesday, and it is based on a similar program for residential tenants, according to the Wall Street Journal.
There have been more than 3,900 commercial evictions in New York City over the past two years, and the average number has gone up each month since 2017, data from the city shows.
The bill would apply to independently owned businesses, along with owners whose household income does not exceed 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines.
The current Right to Counsel program for residential tenants covers legal help for harassment and displacement issues, and it has helped about 33,000 households throughout the 2018 fiscal year.
Real Estate Board of New York president John Banks came out swinging against a recently proposed commercial rent control bill that was also meant to help small businesses, but he expressed more support for Levine’s proposal to the Journal.
“While we are reviewing the legislation, ensuring that small business tenants have access to legal representation is a laudable goal,” he said. [WSJ] – Eddie Small