Overview

United for Small Business NYC (USBnyc) is a coalition of community organizations across New York City fighting to protect small businesses and non-residential tenants from the threat of displacement, with a focus on owner-operated, minority-run businesses that serve low-income and minority communities.

Our platform includes:

  • Fighting speculation and cultural displacement
  • Giving commercial tenants tools to fight back against predatory landlords, including access to legal services and protections against harassment
  • Penalizing landlords who warehouse vacant commercial space

#ClosedByCOVID

USBnyc's Policy Demands for COVID-19

Here is a list of resources for small businesses and vendors in New York City.

Current Campaign

#SaveOurStorefronts: Commercial Rent Relief

Small businesses and nonprofits are a crucial part of New York State’s economy and culture. The COVID-19 pandemic and public health restrictions have wrought havoc on these essential sectors of our economy, threatening millions of jobs and billions of dollars in tax revenue.

The inability to pay rent is the greatest existential threat for small businesses and nonprofits. Without rent relief, many New York businesses will not survive.

The Save Our Storefronts legislation (S8865/A10901) creates a path to recovery based on sharing the burden of the crisis. For the period from March 7, 2020 until 180 days after the state of emergency ends, businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 25 full-time employees would qualify for rent relief. The relief would be distributed as follows:

Do you need rent relief? Here’s how you can make this happen:

  • Share this fact sheet with your neighbors, members, and customers.
  • Sign this petition to show your support: www.saveourstorefronts.nyc
  • Send a letter of support to your representatives to let them know this matters to you! You can use this template to get started, and you can click these links to find out who your state senator and assembly member are.
  • Post this graphic on Instagram to ask your customers to show their support.

 

#FairRentNYC: Commercial Rent Stabilization

Commercial rent stabilization would limit rent increases on commercial space. It would protect commercial tenants from displacement due to exorbitant rent hikes and unregulated fees and provide stability for small businesses and the people who depend on them. As we look toward recovery from the pandemic, we need long-term solutions that prevent speculation.

The rising cost of rent impacts commercial tenants across New York City. The communities that tend to be hardest hit are communities of color and communities facing rapid gentrification.

We need to prevent speculative landlords from profiting off our neighborhoods. 48% of NYC’s small businesses are run by immigrants, and roughly 26% of New Yorkers work at a small business. When small businesses vanish, so do jobs, community spaces, and affordable goods and services.

Intro 1796-2019, which is currently in the city council, would create a board to set annual rent increase rates for small office, retail, and manufacturing spaces, as well as creating penalties for rent overcharges. USBnyc supports a strong commercial rent stabilization bill that includes mechanisms for enforcement and fair criteria for the board’s decisions.

Get Involved

Are you a small business owner? Do you belong to a group that wants to prevent displacement and speculation?

  • Follow us on Twitter and use our hashtags: #NoSmallBizNoNYC #FairRentNYC
  • Email comms@anhd.org to become part of the coalition!

Past Victories

  • Commercial Tenant Harassment Law

The Commercial Tenant Harassment Law in New York City prohibits a landlord from harassing their commercial tenants by way of making discriminatory threats (e.g., age, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.), requesting citizenship status, and interfering with a tenant’s construction or repairs. If a landlord does harass their tenant, they can be fined up to $50,000 per property and a court can deny that landlord construction plans at the building until the harassment has ceased.

  • Legal Support for Small Businesses

The NYC Department of Small Business Services launched the Commercial Lease Assistance Program, which provides small businesses with legal services on leasing as a way to address the power imbalance between commercial tenants and the landlords who exploit them.

  • Storefront Tracker Legislation

The City now has to maintain a public and searchable database - a Storefront Tracker - that requires landlords to report the median rents, lease terms, and vacancies of all first and second floor commercial spaces.This legislation will allow policymakers, advocates, and community members to track vacancy trends in their own neighborhoods and communities while holding landlords accountable for failing to register.

  • State of the Storefronts Legislation

The City is now required to conduct a comprehensive analysis of neighborhood commercial corridors every five years. Very little data exists about commercial spaces in the city, which means we have a very unclear picture of how vast our commercial vacancy issue is. This legislation - the State of the Storefronts - gives policymakers and advocates the necessary information to create meaningful protections for New York’s commercial tenants.

Related Resources

ANHD Analysis Reimagines How We Can Invest in Communities
Undocumented New Yorkers Need Economic Relief - They Keep Our City Alive
The threat of displacement to New York City’s small businesses and non-profits has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.
Most significantly, our members and clients need rent relief. No one should be profiteering from the crisis, including banks, creditors, large landlords, and corporations.
Small Business Coalition Responds to City Council Legislation
Through interviews, focus groups, and surveys, we empowered participants to share the challenges they face as commercial tenants in rapidly changing neighborhoods.
A neighborhood-by-neighborhood analysis of the economic vitality and small business landscape of New York City.
Stories and studies have long demonstrated disparities in small business lending, particularly for minority- and women-owned businesses, but we lack the data to quantify these disparities and hold...
Today, advocates launched the platform for United for Small Business NYC (USBnyc), a coalition of community organizations across New York City fighting to protect New York’s small businesses and non-...

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