How Will the New Disability Access Law Affect Commercial Real Estate Properties?

Wheelchair Accessible SIgnThere are two bills that will go into effect this year that will affect real estate. Last week we discussed the Energy Use Disclosure Program (AB 1103).

Disability Access Law (SB 1186)

This week I’ll take up the new Disability Access Law otherwise known as SB 1186. As I mentioned last week, AIR was kind enough to host a lunch I attended in Glendale on June 11th with Elizabeth Watson, a real estate attorney, presenting the information regarding these two pieces of legislation originally set to go into effect on July 1st that will affect all commercial real estate brokers, agents and owners. (As mentioned, we were informed that AB 1103 has now been postponed until September 1st.)

Here is SB 1186 Disabled Access Law in a nutshell per the brochure distributed by AIR: This bill intends to curb predatory ADA lawsuits, in particular against small businesses in the state. Also the legislation requires landlords to disclose whether their buildings or properties are state certified and in compliance with ADA laws.

Lease Agreements

As I understand it all lease agreements will include a box that will need to be checked either ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ that the building and site have been reviewed by a Certified Access Specialist. What is not clear is if this information will then need to be shared with the property buyer, or will there need to be any changes to the property or site as a result of the review? Currently, properties only need to comply with the codes that were in effect at the time of construction and no upgrades are required regarding ADA unless there is a change in use or upgrades are done to the site. What is also not clear is exactly how this new law will actually limit predatory lawsuits.

I know this will be a high profile item for all agents, brokers, and owners of properties as well as prospective buyers.

My suggestion, for now, is that you consult your legal counsel as to the true ramifications of how compliance to this new law will need to be approached. If I come across any further clarifications I will be sure to share them with you. Call us TODAY and book your next real estate inspection! I hope this helps.