Lawmakers propose canceling restaurant rent, providing relief for landlords

Eateries would pay just 20% of rent owed

New York /
Feb.February 26, 2021 05:15 PM
State Sen. Brad Hoylman and State Assemblymember Harvey Epstein (Getty)

State Sen. Brad Hoylman and State Assemblymember Harvey Epstein (Getty)

New York lawmakers are on a quest to save restaurants and other small businesses.

State Assemblymember Harvey Epstein and State Sen. Brad Hoylman have introduced twin bills in their respective legislative bodies that would, in effect, cancel rent for some restaurateurs.

The legislation would mandate that restaurants and other businesses are on the hook for only 20 percent or one-third of their rent each month, whichever is less. It would apply only to businesses employing 25 workers or fewer, and to those who have lost revenue or been forced to shutter due to the coronavirus pandemic.

To curtail the financial impact on landlords, the bill would also provide $500 million in rent relief. Those funds would be distributed by either the Department of Finance or the Empire State Development Corporation, which would cut checks to landlords on behalf of their tenants.

“I really do think this is a win-win. Especially for the small mom-and-pop landlords, this is a win for them,” said Epstein. “This gets them money, which they may never see again. We don’t want anyone losing the building to foreclosure. This is the way to help them.”

The bills are currently in committee and have a long way to go before being approved, including getting the backing of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Epstein hopes the legislation will be passed as part of the FY2022 executive budget, which must be approved by April 1.

The New York City Hospitality Alliance expressed its support for the legislation, but thinks it could go further — namely, by applying to restaurants with up to 50 employees.

“New York City’s restaurant industry has been decimated, and now, one year into the pandemic, our state’s elected leaders must pass legislation providing rent relief to these struggling small business owners desperately in need,” the group’s executive director Andrew Rigie said in a statement.

Restaurants have been struggling to pay rent amid the pandemic. A report by the New York City Hospitality Alliance found that 92 percent of restaurants could not pay their full December rent, the highest that number has been since the start of the health crisis.

Federal support for restaurants, however, may be on its way. The $25 billion RESTAURANTS Act, which would provide grants to eligible food and beverage purveyors, was reintroduced earlier this month and is being voted on as part of the broader $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill. The House of Representatives was set to pass the bill Friday.





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    Former Washington Prime Group CEO Lou Conforti (Twitter, iStock)
    Washington Prime Group back from bankruptcy; CEO out
    Washington Prime Group back from bankruptcy; CEO out
    Hudson’s Bay Company restructures $846M CMBS loan
    Hudson’s Bay Company restructures $846M CMBS loan
    Hudson’s Bay Company restructures $846M CMBS loan
    270 W Montauk Hwy, Hampton Bays, NY (Loopnet)
    Legendary Hampton Bays bar up for sale
    Legendary Hampton Bays bar up for sale
    Ty Warner and Four Seasons 57 East 57th Street (Getty, Google Maps)
    Ty Warner’s Four Seasons Hotel sues tenant over $2.7M of missed rent
    Ty Warner’s Four Seasons Hotel sues tenant over $2.7M of missed rent
    State Sen. Jabari Brisport and a rendering of 840 Atlantic Avenue (Getty, IMC Architecture, iStock)
    How a senator’s vampire politics hurt real estate — and NYC
    How a senator’s vampire politics hurt real estate — and NYC
    CRE held up through the pandemic far better than most expected (iStock)
    How commercial real estate survived the pandemic
    How commercial real estate survived the pandemic
    Retail availabilities decreased, but leasing increased in the third quarter (iStock, Wikimedia, LoopNet)
    Manhattan retail market ticks up, indicating slow recovery
    Manhattan retail market ticks up, indicating slow recovery
    260 North Avenue East in Westfield NJ (Google Maps)
    Union County shopping center sells to Adoni Group for $19.2M
    Union County shopping center sells to Adoni Group for $19.2M
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...