S01040 Summary:

BILL NOS01040A
 
SAME ASSAME AS A08340-A
 
SPONSORAVELLA
 
COSPNSRPARKER
 
MLTSPNSR
 
Add Title 22 Chap 9 22-901 - 22-910, NYC Ad Cd
 
Enacts the small business survival act; creates a small business lease program for fair negotiations in the commercial lease renewal process.
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S01040 Actions:

BILL NOS01040A
 
01/08/2015REFERRED TO CITIES
01/06/2016REFERRED TO CITIES
04/13/2016AMEND AND RECOMMIT TO CITIES
04/13/2016PRINT NUMBER 1040A
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S01040 Text:



 
                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
 
                                         1040--A
 
                               2015-2016 Regular Sessions
 
                    IN SENATE
 
                                     January 8, 2015
                                       ___________
 
        Introduced  by  Sens.  AVELLA, PARKER -- read twice and ordered printed,
          and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Cities --  recom-
          mitted  to  the  Committee on Cities in accordance with Senate Rule 6,
          sec. 8 -- committee discharged, bill  amended,  ordered  reprinted  as
          amended and recommitted to said committee

        AN  ACT  to  amend  the  administrative code of the city of New York, in
          relation to enacting the "small business survival act"
 
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
 
     1    Section  1.  Short  title. This act shall be known and may be cited as
     2  the "small business survival act".
     3    § 2. Legislative intent. The legislature finds that the small business
     4  sector of the city of New York remains vulnerable at  a  time  when  New
     5  York  city  is more dependent than ever on small business for job growth
     6  and revenues. The New York city commercial rental market has been  nega-
     7  tively  influenced  by  speculators  for such an extended period of time
     8  that the interest of small businesses and job creation, and the  broader
     9  general economic interest of the city, are being harmed. An unacceptable
    10  number  of established small businesses are being forced out of business
    11  solely as a result of the commercial lease renewal process.   Whereby  a
    12  breakdown  has taken place in normal processes of bargaining and freedom
    13  of contract has become an illusory concept during the  commercial  lease
    14  renewal  process.    The  current  commercial  rental  market results in
    15  unjust, unreasonable, and oppressive leases for the payment of rent  for
    16  commercial  space  in  New  York  city. Landlords continue to exact such
    17  agreements from tenants under stress of prevailing market conditions and
    18  unequal bargaining power, without  any  tenants'  rights  to  allow  for
    19  bargaining  in  good faith to arrive at fair and reasonable lease terms.
    20  The absence of legal protection for the interests of commercial  tenants
    21  in  the  lease renewal process has unnecessarily accelerated the closing
    22  of small businesses and resulted in lost jobs, lost tax revenues  caused
 
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD01956-02-6

        S. 1040--A                          2
 
     1  higher inflation and cost of living rates, decreased job growth opportu-
     2  nities  for  New  Yorkers and community instability. It is the intent of
     3  the legislature, through this legislation, to give small businesses some
     4  rights in the commercial lease renewal process, and therefore, a measure
     5  of  predictability of future costs through a two-step procedure of medi-
     6  ation and, if necessary, arbitration for  negotiating  commercial  lease
     7  renewals.    This  process  would create a fair negotiating environment,
     8  which would result in more reasonable and fair lease terms to help small
     9  businesses survive and encourage job retention and growth in the city of
    10  New York.
    11    § 3. Title 22 of the administrative code of the city of  New  York  is
    12  amended by adding a new chapter 9 to read as follows:
    13                                   CHAPTER 9
    14                 COMMERCIAL LEASE ARBITRATION AND MEDIATION
    15  Section 22-901 Scope.
    16          22-902 Definitions.
    17          22-903 Manner of service.
    18          22-904 Rental guidelines.
    19          22-905 Security deposits.
    20          22-906 Retaliation.
    21          22-907 Waiver.
    22          22-908 Evaluation.
    23          22-909 Penalties.
    24          22-910 Inconsistency with other laws.
    25    §  22-901 Scope. This chapter shall apply only to all commercial lease
    26  renewals for commercial premises. On any occasion wherein a landlord and
    27  tenant are required to negotiate  the  terms  of  a  lease  renewal  for
    28  commercial  uses  the  provisions  of  this  chapter  shall  apply.  The
    29  provisions of this chapter shall  apply  to  any  landlord  and  current
    30  tenant  whose  lease expired on or after July first, two thousand seven-
    31  teen.
    32    § 22-902 Definitions. a. "Administering agency" shall  mean  any  city
    33  agency,  office,  department, division, bureau or institution of govern-
    34  ment, the expenses of which are paid in whole or in part from  the  city
    35  treasury, as the mayor shall designate.
    36    b.  "Arbitrator" shall mean the person chosen by the parties or by the
    37  American Arbitration Association, or any  other  recognized  arbitration
    38  organization,  to  resolve  a  dispute  between  a landlord and a tenant
    39  concerning a commercial lease renewal or the rent to be charged for  the
    40  commercial premises.
    41    c.  "Commercial  premises" shall mean a building or space occupied for
    42  non-residential purposes including, but not limited  to,  manufacturing,
    43  retail, professional services, offices, assembling, processing, cultural
    44  and  not-for-profit  entities  that are present in the city of New York,
    45  who have a valid commercial lease.
    46    d. "Landlord" shall mean any owner, lessor, sublessor or other  person
    47  entitled  to  receive  rent  for  the use or occupancy of any commercial
    48  premises, or an agent thereof.
    49    e. "Mediator" shall mean any person, agreed upon by the parties to the
    50  dispute or chosen by the American Arbitration Association or  any  other
    51  recognized  mediation  or arbitration association, to act as an interme-
    52  diary between the parties. The mediator shall not offer a binding  deci-
    53  sion concerning the matter in dispute.
    54    f. "Negotiation" shall mean the process of conferring with one another
    55  through conferences, discussions and compromise, to arrive at a mutually
    56  agreeable settlement.

        S. 1040--A                          3

     1    g.  "Rent"  shall  mean  any  and all consideration, including but not
     2  limited to pass-alongs, received by the landlord in connection with  the
     3  use or occupancy of any commercial premises.
     4    h. "Services" shall mean those facilities which enhance the use of the
     5  commercial  premises,  including,  but  not limited to, repairs, mainte-
     6  nance, painting, heat, hot and cold water, utilities, elevator  service,
     7  security devices and patrols, furnishings, storage, janitorial and land-
     8  scaping  services,  refuse removal, insurance protection, parking spaces
     9  and facilities in common areas of the building or parcel  in  which  the
    10  rental unit is located.
    11    i.  "Tenant"  shall  mean tenant, subtenant, lessee, sublessee, or any
    12  other persons lawfully entitled to use or occupancy  of  any  commercial
    13  premises.
    14    § 22-903 Manner of service. All papers and notices which, by the terms
    15  of  this chapter are required to be served, shall be served by a process
    16  server, or shall be sent by first class mail and certified mail,  return
    17  receipt requested or by any express mail service.
    18    § 22-904 Rental guidelines. a. All leases of a commercial premises may
    19  be renewed at the option of a tenant who did not lose the right to renew
    20  a  lease  under  the grounds described in subdivision d of this section.
    21  Such lease renewals shall be for a minimum term of ten  years,  provided
    22  however,  that  at the tenant's option, and with the written approval of
    23  the landlord, a lease of shorter or longer duration may be selected.
    24    b. No period of lease extension required by this chapter shall  extend
    25  beyond the landlord's lawful ability to rent the premises to the tenant,
    26  where such ability is limited by:
    27    (1) the obligation to rent the premises to a third party pursuant to a
    28  bona  fide  lease entered into prior to the effective date of this chap-
    29  ter;
    30    (2) the exercise by a third party of a bona fide option  to  rent  the
    31  premises provided that such option was given prior to the effective date
    32  of this chapter; or
    33    (3) any other lawful reason arising prior to such effective date.
    34    c.  Any  landlord  whose obligations under this chapter are limited by
    35  the provisions of this section shall not be required to negotiate or  to
    36  arbitrate  as  otherwise  provided  for in this chapter but shall remain
    37  obligated to negotiate and to arbitrate a renewal lease for such  period
    38  of  time for which the landlord has a lawful ability to rent the commer-
    39  cial premises to the tenant. The landlord shall provide  notice  to  the
    40  tenant  one  hundred  eighty days before the termination of the lease of
    41  the basis on which the lease cannot be  extended  for  a  full  ten-year
    42  term.
    43    d.  A tenant shall lose the right of renewal and a landlord may refuse
    44  to renew a lease only on the following grounds:
    45    (1) The tenant has persistently delayed rent payments  without  cause.
    46  For the purpose of this subdivision, "cause" is defined as the withhold-
    47  ing  of  rental  payments by the tenant due to the alleged violations of
    48  the rental agreement by the landlord.  In order for the landlord  to  be
    49  excused  from  renewal on this ground, the landlord must have served the
    50  tenant at least three prior notices during the term of the lease to  the
    51  tenant  for demand of payment within thirty days, and then show that the
    52  lessee has not paid within such thirty day period.  The  landlord  shall
    53  not serve such notice unless the rent payment was in arrears for a mini-
    54  mum of fifteen days;
    55    (2)  The tenant uses the commercial premises in a manner substantially
    56  different from that described in the lease;

        S. 1040--A                          4
 
     1    (3) The tenant conducts or permits any form of illegal activity on the
     2  premises;
     3    (4)  The  tenant has substantially breached any substantive obligation
     4  under the current lease and has failed to cure such breach within thirty
     5  days following written notice to cure by the landlord;
     6    (5) Upon the termination of the current tenancy, the landlord intends,
     7  in good faith, to demolish or substantially reconstruct the premises  or
     8  a  substantial  part  thereof,  or  to  carry  out  substantial  work or
     9  construction on the commercial  premises  or  substantial  part  thereof
    10  which  he or she could not reasonably do without obtaining possession of
    11  the commercial premises. The landlord shall notify the tenant of his  or
    12  her decision to reoccupy the commercial premises at least one year prior
    13  to  the  termination  of the lease. In the event that the lessor fraudu-
    14  lently invokes this justification for a refusal to  renew  a  commercial
    15  lease,  the  defrauded  tenant  may  collect treble damages for any loss
    16  suffered as a result of such action;
    17    (6) The current tenancy was created by the subletting of the property,
    18  whereby the prime tenant did not notify the landlord by  certified  mail
    19  of  the  subtenant's existence and did not obtain the written consent of
    20  the landlord. This ground is void if the landlord and tenant had  agreed
    21  in the lease to allow subleasing rights without the consent of the land-
    22  lord  and  all  obligations  of  the  prime tenant on the issue, were in
    23  compliance;
    24    (7) It has been determined by the administering agency or by  a  civil
    25  court  of competent jurisdiction that the tenant is a gross and persist-
    26  ent violator of New York city  tax  laws,  of  any  license  obligations
    27  related  to  the  use  of the premises or of any laws of the city of New
    28  York;
    29    (8) Upon the termination of the current tenancy, the landlord  intends
    30  to  occupy  the  retail premises in order to carry out its own business,
    31  which cannot be the same type of business that  the  current  tenant  is
    32  operating,  unless  the  landlord  compensates the tenant at fair market
    33  value as determined by an arbitrator as restitution for the loss of such
    34  tenant's business. The landlord shall notify the tenant of  his  or  her
    35  decision to reoccupy the premises at least one hundred eighty days prior
    36  to  the termination of the lease. In the event that the landlord fraudu-
    37  lently invokes this justification for a refusal to  renew  a  commercial
    38  lease,  the  defrauded  tenant  may  collect treble damages for any loss
    39  suffered as a result of such action.
    40    e. Procedure for lease renewals. (1)  Where  the  landlord  agrees  to
    41  renew  the  lease  of the current tenant, such landlord shall notify the
    42  tenant at least one hundred eighty days prior to the expiration  of  the
    43  lease  of his or her willingness to negotiate the renewal of the commer-
    44  cial lease agreement.  If the landlord and tenant agree, they may at any
    45  time renegotiate a new lease, with any agreed to terms  and  conditions,
    46  not  inconsistent  with the provisions of this chapter. The tenant is to
    47  continue rent payments as set forth in the lease until the parties reach
    48  an agreement on a  lease  renewal  or  until  a  decision  is  otherwise
    49  rendered through the arbitration or mediation processes described in the
    50  provisions  of  this  subdivision.    The  first  ninety days of the one
    51  hundred eighty-day notice period is for  the  purpose  of  negotiations.
    52  Alternatively, either party may compel the other party to the dispute to
    53  use  that  ninety-day  period,  or any part thereof, for the purposes of
    54  mediation. If either the landlord or tenant chooses mediation, he or she
    55  shall notify the other party that a mediation session is requested.  The
    56  parties  shall  choose  a mediator who is agreeable to both the landlord

        S. 1040--A                          5
 
     1  and tenant, or if no such person is agreeable, then the  American  Arbi-
     2  tration  Association  shall  appoint  a mediator or any other recognized
     3  mediation or arbitration association. The full costs of mediation  shall
     4  be  equally shared by both parties.  The mediator shall notify the land-
     5  lord and tenant, no more than ten days after his or her appointment,  of
     6  the  date,  time,  place  and  rules  of the hearing. The mediator shall
     7  follow his or her customary rules and may render an  opinion  concerning
     8  the  dispute, which shall not be binding on the parties. If after ninety
     9  days of negotiation and any mediation sessions, the landlord and  tenant
    10  do  not  reach an agreement on a new lease, then the tenant is to notify
    11  the American Arbitration Association or any other  recognized  mediation
    12  or  arbitration  association,  within fourteen days of the expiration of
    13  the first ninety day period, that an arbitration hearing  is  requested.
    14  Failure  by the tenant to notify the American Arbitration Association or
    15  any other recognized mediation or arbitration association  within  four-
    16  teen  days of the expiration of the first ninety day period shall result
    17  in the forfeiture of the tenant's right of renewal.
    18    (2) Where the landlord refuses to  renew  a  lease  with  the  current
    19  tenant,  such  landlord is to notify the tenant a minimum of one hundred
    20  eighty days before the expiration of the lease that such landlord is not
    21  going to renew the tenant's lease and state the reason  or  reasons  for
    22  such denial in detail. Failure of the landlord to give such notice shall
    23  subject  the parties to the provisions of paragraph three of this subdi-
    24  vision. The landlord is to furnish the tenant with  all  pertinent  data
    25  supporting  such  reason or reasons. If the tenant still wishes to chal-
    26  lenge the refusal to renew the lease and apply  for  a  renewal  of  the
    27  lease, then the tenant must notify the landlord within thirty days after
    28  the  receipt  of the landlord's notice of his or her intent to challenge
    29  the refusal and seek arbitration solely on the  validity  of  the  land-
    30  lord's  grounds  for denial of tenants' right to renewal on the issue of
    31  renewal. The tenant shall then notify the American  Arbitration  Associ-
    32  ation  or  any  other  recognized  mediation or arbitration organization
    33  within fourteen days after notification by the tenant  to  the  landlord
    34  that  a hearing is requested to determine whether the landlord's grounds
    35  for refusal are valid.
    36    (3) If an arbitration hearing is requested pursuant  to  either  para-
    37  graphs one or two of this subdivision:
    38    (a) The landlord and tenant shall choose the arbitrator from a list of
    39  arbitrators  provided  by  the  American  Arbitration Association or any
    40  other recognized mediation or arbitration association.  If  they  cannot
    41  agree  on  the  selection  of  the  arbitrator within thirty days of the
    42  tenant's notice to such association that a  hearing  is  requested,  the
    43  tenant  shall  notify  within  fourteen  days  such  organization of the
    44  parties' failure to make a selection and such  arbitration  organization
    45  shall  determine  the  arbitrator  within  five  days of receipt of such
    46  notice from the tenant.  Both parties shall follow the rules established
    47  by the arbitration association in preparing for  and  holding  an  arbi-
    48  tration hearing.
    49    (b)  The arbitrator shall notify both parties of the date, place, time
    50  and rules of the hearing within fourteen days of receipt  by  the  arbi-
    51  tration association of the request for a hearing. The hearing shall take
    52  place  in  the  borough where the commercial premises are located unless
    53  otherwise agreed to by the landlord and tenant. The landlord and  tenant
    54  shall  furnish  the  arbitrator with all relevant documentation, and the
    55  arbitrator shall conduct a preliminary meeting or  conference  telephone
    56  call  prior to the hearing to review the data and familiarize himself or

        S. 1040--A                          6
 
     1  herself with the case. The matters the arbitrator shall determine during
     2  the preliminary meeting shall include, but not be limited to,  the  need
     3  to inspect the property requesting additional data from either party and
     4  any facts deemed relevant to the arbitrator, list of potential witnesses
     5  with  backgrounds  of  each,  and the need to hire expert consultants to
     6  certify the accuracy of data. The arbitrator  may  seek  to  conduct  an
     7  inspection  of  the property after notifying both parties at least three
     8  days in advance of the inspection and informing them of their  right  to
     9  be present during the inspection.
    10    (c) The hearing before the arbitrator may be recorded by digital, tape
    11  or  video  device,  at  the request of either party and agreed to by the
    12  arbitrator and whose costs will be borne by the  party  who  decided  on
    13  this  method  to  create a record of the hearing. If both parties are in
    14  agreement, the costs for recording the hearing will be  shared  equally.
    15  Such  recording  may  be  transcribed  upon the request of any party who
    16  posts in advance the estimated cost of the transcription.  Either  party
    17  may provide, at their expense, a reporter to transcribe the hearing. The
    18  official record of the hearing shall include all documents and offers of
    19  proof  presented to the arbitrator, the written decision of the arbitra-
    20  tor and any transcript of the hearing. The landlord and tenant will each
    21  be given adequate time to present their  cases,  as  determined  by  the
    22  arbitrator to present testimony, witnesses, pictures, videos, documents,
    23  including charts, comparable rent data and any other relevant data. Each
    24  party  shall be allowed to confront and cross-examine adverse witnesses.
    25  The arbitrator can choose to investigate any aspect of the case to  help
    26  arrive at a decision.
    27    (d)  For a dispute brought before an arbitrator under paragraph one of
    28  this subdivision, such arbitrator shall render a  written  determination
    29  setting  the  rent  to  be  paid  during  a renewal period of ten years,
    30  together with the basis for the determination of  the  rent,  and  shall
    31  notify the parties of such determination no later than thirty days after
    32  the  hearing  has  been  concluded. Failure to notify the parties within
    33  thirty days shall not affect the enforceability of  such  determination.
    34  Article  seventy-five  of the civil practice law and rules governs arbi-
    35  tration procedure in New York state. Therefore, the ruling of the  arbi-
    36  tration  will be governed by this New York state statute.  Such determi-
    37  nation shall be based on (i) the cost of maintenance  and  operation  of
    38  the  entire property including land and building improvements, including
    39  all service debt such as mortgages, (ii) the kind, quality and  quantity
    40  of  services furnished by the landlord, (iii) the condition of the space
    41  including capital improvements made by the tenant, (iv) current interest
    42  rates on bank deposits and  United  States  government  bonds,  (v)  the
    43  current fair market rates for comparable properties in the area in which
    44  the  property  is  located,  (vi)  the  lease  history  and any relevant
    45  sublease history, (vii)  the  longevity  of  the  business,  (viii)  the
    46  location of the business, (ix) the extent to which the business is bound
    47  to  its particular location, (x) the size of the space, (xi) the cost of
    48  leasing similar premises within a one mile radius of the property, (xii)
    49  the past ten year rental market history within a one mile radius of  the
    50  property,  as  well as, the length of time of any consistent real estate
    51  speculation occurring in the market and degree  of  real  estate  specu-
    52  lation  for  a  particular  area  which  the business is located in, the
    53  existence of empty storefront property for extended periods of time  and
    54  the impact upon the local commercial rental market of unusual conditions
    55  and  (xiii)  all  other  relevant factors. The arbitrator shall consider
    56  that each small business and landlord relationship should be dealt  with

        S. 1040--A                          7
 
     1  on  a  case-by-case basis. Where the commercial premises is located in a
     2  mixed-use building with less than  twenty-five  residential  units,  the
     3  arbitrator  shall  give  special consideration to the criteria listed in
     4  items (i) and (ii) of this subparagraph. Within thirty days of the hear-
     5  ing,  the arbitrator shall send the decision as to the rent price to the
     6  parties involved by certified mail.  The costs of arbitration  shall  be
     7  borne equally by landlord and tenant.  Article seventy-five of the civil
     8  practice  law and rules governs arbitration procedure in New York state.
     9  Therefore, the ruling of the arbitration will be governed  by  this  New
    10  York state statute.
    11    (e)  For a dispute brought before an arbitrator under paragraph two of
    12  this subdivision, such arbitrator shall render a  written  determination
    13  stating  the  basis  for such determination and notifying the parties of
    14  such determination no later than thirty days after the hearing has  been
    15  concluded.  Failure  to  render  a  timely, written determination and to
    16  notify parties within thirty days shall not affect the enforceability of
    17  such determination. Such determination shall be based on (i) appropriate
    18  laws applicable to commercial spaces; (ii) the terms of  the  lease  and
    19  compliance therewith; (iii) rental guidelines as set forth by the admin-
    20  istering  agency;  (iv)  follow the provisions of paragraphs one through
    21  eight of subdivision d of this section; and (v) any other  relevant  and
    22  material  factors that the arbitrator shall deem proper. If the arbitra-
    23  tor decides in favor of the landlord, then the tenant shall  have  until
    24  the  end  of  the  current lease to vacate. If the arbitrator decides in
    25  favor of the tenant, the parties will begin the  renegotiations  of  new
    26  lease  terms and if necessary, the mediation period as detailed in para-
    27  graph two of subdivision e of this section. The maximum length  of  time
    28  permitted  for  this renegotiation/mediation period will be reduced from
    29  ninety days to thirty days from the  date  of  receipt  of  arbitrator's
    30  ruling.  If the parties have not reached a mutual agreement on the terms
    31  of a new lease, and mediation failed to  achieve  agreement  within  the
    32  thirty  day period after arbitrators' ruling on "right of renewal", then
    33  the parties are to proceed to arbitration as detailed in  paragraph  two
    34  of subdivision e of this section.
    35    (f)  The  arbitrator's  decision setting the rent price shall be final
    36  and binding on both parties except as provided herein,  and  they  shall
    37  enter into a lease incorporating such rent which lease does not diminish
    38  any  services  provided  by the landlord pursuant to the existing lease.
    39  Such renewal lease shall be entered into by the termination date of  the
    40  current lease and shall commence at the time of expiration of the exist-
    41  ing lease. If, however, the tenant elects not to pay the rent set by the
    42  arbitrator,  then  the  landlord  and  tenant shall not enter into a new
    43  lease agreement or renew the existing lease.
    44    (g) If, pursuant to subparagraph (f) of  this  paragraph,  the  tenant
    45  elects  to  not  pay  the rent set by the arbitrator, the tenant will be
    46  allowed to remain in possession at a rent no greater than a ten  percent
    47  increase  of  the average rent charged during the final twelve months of
    48  the last rental agreement between  the  landlord  and  tenant  from  the
    49  termination  date  of  the  existing  lease until such date on which the
    50  tenant shall remove his or her property from the  premises  as  provided
    51  herein.  In  the  event  the landlord receives a written bona fide offer
    52  from a prospective tenant to rent the premises, the landlord must  first
    53  offer the current tenant the option of entering into a lease at the rent
    54  and other terms agreed to by the prospective tenant to the landlord. The
    55  landlord  is  to  notify  the  tenant of such offer within three days of
    56  receipt of such written bona fide offer. If the tenant declines  to  pay

        S. 1040--A                          8
 
     1  the rent or fails to accept the offer within fourteen days of receipt of
     2  the landlord's notification to the tenant of such offer, then the tenant
     3  has  thirty days, from the date such notice is received, to remove prop-
     4  erty  from  the commercial premises provided that the lease has expired.
     5  If the tenant accepts the option of  first  refusal,  the  landlord  and
     6  tenant  shall  enter  into a lease based upon the terms of the bona fide
     7  offer received by the landlord from the prospective tenant.
     8    § 22-905 Security deposits. Security  deposits  shall  not  exceed  an
     9  amount  equal  to two months rent. All security deposits shall be placed
    10  in escrow in an interest-bearing account at  a  federally  insured  bank
    11  located  in  New  York state. The tenant shall be notified in writing of
    12  the location of such escrow account. Interest paid on the account  shall
    13  be  paid in full to the tenant upon termination of the lease. The amount
    14  of interest paid to the tenant shall equal the  interest  paid  by  such
    15  federally  insured  bank less one percent for the landlord's administra-
    16  tive costs.
    17    § 22-906 Retaliation. No landlord shall in any way  retaliate  against
    18  any  tenant  for  the tenant's assertion or exercise of any rights under
    19  this chapter. Any such retaliation may subject the landlord  to  a  suit
    20  for actual and punitive damages, injunctive relief, and attorney's fees.
    21  Proof  of  retaliation  by the landlord occurring prior to or during the
    22  arbitration proceeding shall be considered by the arbitrator in making a
    23  determination as to the rent to be paid.
    24    § 22-907 Waiver. No provision  in  any  lease,  rental  agreement,  or
    25  agreement  made  in  connection therewith which waives or diminishes any
    26  right of tenant under this chapter is valid.
    27    § 22-908 Evaluation. At the end of each fifth year, the  administering
    28  agency shall report to the mayor and the council on the effectiveness of
    29  this  chapter  in carrying out the purposes set forth in the legislative
    30  findings. The recommendations should  take  into  account  the  existing
    31  commercial   rental  market  which  includes  among  other  factors  the
    32  inflation and interest rates. This report shall also identify any  other
    33  positive or negative effects of the law.
    34    § 22-909 Penalties. a. A landlord or tenant may seek injunctive relief
    35  mandating arbitration and/or appropriate damages against any landlord or
    36  tenant who fails to submit voluntarily to arbitration or otherwise fails
    37  to act in good faith.
    38    b. Any and all legal expenses incurred by one party as a result of its
    39  attempt  to compel the other party to comply with the provisions of this
    40  chapter may be awarded to the appropriate party by the arbitrator  or  a
    41  civil court of competent jurisdiction.
    42    § 22-910 Inconsistency with other laws. In the event of any inconsist-
    43  ency  with  any  other laws of the city of New York, this law shall take
    44  precedence.
    45    § 4. Severability. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part
    46  of this act shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction  to
    47  be  invalid  and  after  exhaustion  of all further judicial review, the
    48  judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the  remainder  thereof,
    49  but  shall  be  confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, para-
    50  graph, section or part of this act directly involved in the  controversy
    51  in which the judgment shall have been rendered.
    52    § 5. This act shall take effect on the one hundred thirtieth day after
    53  it shall have become a law.
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