NAIOP remains active with our coalition of partners to ensure amendments are made to AB 255, the Small Business ‘Commercial’ Eviction Bill.
Thanks to amendments requested by CBPA and our coalition of 26 business groups, the bill NO LONGER gives a tenant the ability to simply stop paying rent due to COVID. As it’s currently written, it gives tenants the ability to do what they can already do in the UD process. We will continue to advocate and make the case that financial assistance for small businesses is already happening through several different programs outside the scope of the bill. We do not expect this bill to impact many of our NAIOP members as commercial landlords continue to make reasonable accommodations for their tenants. This bill is currently on the Assembly Floor and we ask that the bill not move forward unless it is amended to address our concerns.
Further provisions of the amendments:
- Restrict the bill to companies of $2.5M gross revenue or less. (reduces company size by half and aligns with the Governor’s Small Business Grant Program)
- Limits the qualifying time period to end at June 30, 2021 (aligns with the residential bill adopted earlier this year)
- Exempts landlords that that have worked with tenants prior to receiving a hardship request authorized by this bill from a tenant (you are not subject to double jeopardy)
- Restricts the provisions of the bill to COVID-19 related lease debt only.
CALL TO ACTION
If you want to help with legislators, please reach out to the Assemblymember for the district where you live and/or own/manage significant property. Please find the suggested draft letter below to support an email or phone conversation:
SUGGESTED DRAFT LETTER/EMAIL/PHONE CONVERSATION:
NOTE: IT IS BEST IF YOU CUSTOMIZE THIS TO YOUR OWN COMPANY/SITUATION AND USE AN EXAMPLE OF HELPING TENANTS DURING THE PANDEMIC
I am part of the coalition that is asking for amendments to AB 255, a bill that is seeking to address impacts of COVID-19 economic shutdowns by having one company take responsibility for another company, instead of the state acting as the safety net.
The bill is currently on the Assembly floor and we ask that you not let the bill move forward unless it is amended to address concerns stated in the attached coalition letter.
We believe the bill represents inappropriate involvement by the state in a contracted relationship between two private parties. The vast majority of commercial property owners are making reasonable accommodations for their commercial/business tenants.
And for the commercial businesses that are having trouble, there are already numerous state/federal grant/loan/tax credit programs now focused on helping the very businesses targeted in the bill, making it completely unnecessary.
While some individual businesses may benefit from the bill, AB 255 is bad precedent, and will ultimately hurt many companies that have worked with their commercial/business tenants by denying a legitimate business revenue and inducing court proceedings.
Our members would much rather the state remove COVID restrictions, open up the economy and allow businesses to begin rebuilding by serving their customers than distorting the commercial real estate market. The Governor and Legislature are already addressing the issue raised by AB 255, but in a manner we believe makes more sense.
Thank you for taking my views into consideration.