On September 16, 2016, Governor Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 2093, which takes effect immediately, that helps businesses assess whether commercial rental property is compliant with disability access laws.
Disclosure In Commercial Leases
AB 2093 requires a commercial property landlord to state on every lease or rental agreement executed on or after January 1, 2017, whether or not the premises has been inspected by California Certified Access Specialist (CASp). [Civil Code section 1938(a).]
Landlords Must Provide Copies of CASp Inspection Reports
If the premises has been inspected, a commercial property landlord must provide the tenant with a current disability access inspection certificate and inspection report or a copy of a CASp inspection report if the premises has been issued an inspection report indicating that they "meet applicable standards". [Civil Code section 1938(d).]
Prospective Commercial Tenant's Rights When Property Has Not Been Inspected
If the premises has not been issued a disability access inspection certificate, the lease or rental agreement must include the following statutory language as set forth under Civil Code section 1938(e):
"A Certified Access Specialist (CASp) can inspect the subject premises and determine whether the subject premises comply with all of the applicable construction-related accessibility standards under state law. Although state law does not require a CASp inspection of the subject premises, the commercial property owner or lessor may not prohibit the lessee or tenant from obtaining a CASp inspection of the subject premises for the occupancy or potential occupancy of the lessee or tenant, if requested by the lessee or tenant. The parties shall mutually agree on the arrangements for the time and manner of the CASp inspection, the payment of the fee for the CASp inspection, and the cost of making any repairs necessary to correct violations of construction-related accessibility standards within the premises."
Prospective Tenant's Right to Rescind Lease
A prospective tenant has the opportunity to review any CASp report prior to execution of the lease or rental agreement, and if the report is not provided at least 48 hours prior to execution of a lease or rental agreement, the prospective tenant the right to rescind the lease or agreement, based upon information contained in the report, for 72 hours after execution of the agreement. [Civil Code section 1938(c).]
Presumption That Commercial Landlords Are Responsible for Correcting Accessibilty Violations
AB 2093 also establishes a presumption that making repairs or modifications necessary to correct violations of construction-related accessibility standards that are noted in a CASp report is the commercial landlord's responsibility unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties to the lease or rental agreement. [Civil Code section 1938(c).]
The inspections and disclosures required under AB 2093 will hopefully reduce the financial impact of abusive lawsuits against California small businesses involving alleged disability access violations.
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