Invoking Home Rule to Suspend Commercial Rents: Catherine Humphreville Seeks Small Business Relief

Catherine Humphreville (‘18), Fellow at Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A, co-authored a commentary for York Law Journal urging the city of New York to exercise its authority under Home Rule and other municipal powers to protect public health, safety and welfare and suspend commercial rent for pandemic-strained businesses (“#ClosedByCOVID: The City’s Power to Save Our Small Businesses,” May 15). “Most immediately, City policymakers must act to protect vulnerable businesses by mandating a rent abatement for the period of the state emergency, rather than look to the discretion of property owners to support commercial tenants. And they have the authority to respond in the short term by suspending rent and in the long term by passing commercial rent stabilization. We must act now to protect small businesses from closures and displacement. Inaction by policymakers cannot and should not be our policy choice.”