Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Disfunctional Court System Stifles Retail Development

New York City has one of the most dysfunctional landlord tenant court systems in the country. It is a system that easily permits tenants who fail to pay their rent to continue in possession of their stores for many months if not years after they stop paying rent. The simplest of uncontested court cases take a minimum of four months to resolve. It is no wonder then that landlords are reluctant to accept this risk and consequently either rent desirable store locations only to well-known chain and national tenants or require significant security deposits from mom-and-pop tenants. Perhaps if the court system could be reformed so as to ensure a measure of certainty and expediency to landlords this risk could be reduced and landlords would be more willing to rent desirable stores to a wider selection of tenants. Instead of every street corner then being occupied by a Starbucks, Duane Reade or bank branch perhaps we could then see more interesting stores operated by entrepreneurs and startups.

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