Pro Bono News

NYC Small Business Owners Facing Eviction to Get Help

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

NYC Small Business Owners Facing Eviction to Get Help

"A bill to be introduced this week by Manhattan Councilman Mark Levine will aim to provide free legal assistance to small businesses facing eviction.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Levine said the bill will be patterned after the Right to Counsel bill, which provides legal aid to residential tenants facing eviction.

Levine said the proposed bill is “transformational” in the interview. He shared statistics showing that while residential evictions dropped 14% between 2017 and 2018, commercial evictions increased.

“The city averaged 153 commercial evictions a month last year, up from 143 in 2017,” reported Crain’s New York Business. “The advice of a lawyer might have been able to keep some of those tenants in business, Levine said. Many small-business owners may not have been able to afford to retain one. The goal, he told the Journal, is to “level the playing field to replicate the success for commercial tenants.”

Under the proposal, assistance would be tendered to independently owned and operated businesses, and those owners whose household income is under 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.

An attorney would work for the tenant in housing and other courts, including appearances to seek possession for not paying rent, the Wall Street Journal pointed out..."

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