Strategic Defense Is Critical
New York landlord-tenant law does not afford the same scope of protection for commercial tenants as it does for residential leaseholders. Wenig Saltiel LLP is experienced in helping commercial tenants protect their rights throughout New York City. For example, commercial tenants are not protected by a warrant of habitability or an implied lease provision that entitles them to recover legal fees if they win an eviction proceeding.
A business owners’ best defense is to negotiate a lease with terms which clearly state the conditions and benefits they will receive in return for their lease payments. With this, they will have the ability to defend themselves against potentially sub-standard conditions or lack of services needed to properly operate their businesses in the future.
If you are a business owner facing lease termination, eviction or suffering from sub-standard conditions, it is critical to retain experienced counsel immediately.
What Are My Rights As A Commercial Tenant in New York City?
As a commercial tenant in New York City, you are entitled to lawful treatment by your landlord and to structural conditions that do not threaten you, your employees’ or your customers’ health or safety. This includes the right to not face discrimination, whether during your search for a commercial space or while you are a commercial tenant. The recently enacted Non-Residential Tenant Harassment Law (New York City Administrative Code §22-902) also protects commercial tenants from harassment. This law provides that commercial tenant harassment is any act or omission by or on behalf of a landlord that:
(i) is intended to cause a commercial tenant to vacate covered property, or to surrender or waive any rights under a lease or other rental agreement or under applicable law in relation to such covered property, and (ii) includes one or more of the following:
Using force against or making express or implied threats that force will be used against a commercial tenant or such tenant's invitee.
Causing repeated interruptions or discontinuances of one or more essential services including where such interruption or discontinuance substantially interferes with a commercial tenant's business.
Repeatedly commencing frivolous court proceedings against a commercial tenant.
Removing from a covered property any personal property belonging to a commercial tenant or such tenant's invitee.
Removing the door at the entrance to a covered property occupied by a commercial tenant; removing, plugging or otherwise rendering the lock on such entrance door inoperable; or changing the lock on such entrance door without supplying a key to the new lock to the commercial tenant occupying the covered property.
Preventing a commercial tenant or such tenant's invitee from entering a covered property occupied by such tenant.
Substantially interfering with a commercial tenant's business by commencing unnecessary construction or repairs on or near covered property.
Engaging in any other repeated or enduring acts or omissions that substantially interfere with the operation of a commercial tenant's business.
It is important to remember that with these rights come responsibilities. As a commercial tenant, you are expected to obey the terms of your lease, pay your rent on time and honor the rights of other commercial tenants. Under circumstances where it may be appropriate to withhold rent, it is prudent to escrow all monies withheld. No matter what issues you are facing with your landlord, the best way to preserve your rights as a commercial tenant in New York City is to seek representation from an attorney knowledgeable in commercial landlord-tenant law.