Fighting for survival, more Brooklyn small businesses pay rent

Survey finds 28% missed August rent, down from 44% in April

TRD New York /
Aug.August 24, 2020 03:45 PM
(Getty, iStock)

(Getty, iStock)

Brooklyn small businesses are increasingly paying rent and capitalizing on all the help that they can get as they miss out on some of the most profitable months of the year.

Twenty-eight percent of small businesses have failed to pay rent in August, according to a Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce survey of 234 owners. That’s the same as last month, but a marked improvement from 44 percent in April.

However, concessions from landlords have risen. Twenty-five percent of businesses said they received relief this month, up from 20 percent in July.

“Brooklyn’s business community is extremely resilient,” said Randy Peers, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, in a press release. “The small businesses that make up our neighborhoods and sustain our communities are facing unprecedented economic challenges, requiring immediate support, grants and urgent rent relief if they are going to survive.”

But relief doesn’t mean these businesses aren’t in debt. Some 39 percent said they owe back rent.

Still, they ranked rent relief as the second most vital form of support, with 69 percent saying it is very important. The top ranked is grants, with 83 percent viewing them as very important.

The survey found Brooklyn’s small businesses are limping through the pandemic. Half said revenue has fallen more than 50 percent from 2019, and 53 percent said it would be a struggle to stay open over the next three months.

Rent isn’t the only hurdle businesses face. Enforcement of social distancing has resulted in 10 percent of businesses with a liquor license receiving fines or violations. A TRD analysis of social distancing complaints found that Brooklyn sees the most 311 calls of any borough, with 5,891 on commercial properties.

Nationally, 25 percent of mom-and-pop shops missed rent payments in July. National chains are doing better, with only 20 percent missing rent, according to a Datex Property Solutions report.

Contact Sasha Jones at [email protected]


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