July 5, 2015


July 03, 2015

Be Prepared: New Commercial Lease Disclosure Requirements Under California Disability Access Laws Take Effect July 1, 2013

In the fall of 2012, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1186 (SB 1186). Among other things, SB 1186 reforms California’s disability access laws by: (1) banning pre-lawsuit letters from lawyers demanding money; (2) creating new provisions to prevent “stacking” of multiple claims to increase statutory damages; and (3) requiring that demand letters identify the barriers that prevented full and equal access to the business premises or services, as well as the dates the disabled person encountered those barriers. The new law also reduces the amount of statutory damages available for unintentional violations of the law in certain circumstances, if the necessary changes are made soon after a suit is filed. 

SB 1186 additionally amends California Civil Code § 1938 and imposes a new disclosure duty on commercial landlords. For all commercial property leases entered into on or after July 1, 2013, the landlord must disclose in the lease: (1) whether the leased premises have been inspected by a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) and if so, (2) whether the leased premises have (or have not) been determined to meet all applicable construction-related access standards under California law. Under certain circumstances, a CASp inspection may be useful to limit the statutory damages that a plaintiff may recover in a disability access case.

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About this Author

Dustin Branch, Partner, Katten Muchin Rosenman Law Firm

Dustin Branch concentrates his practice in the representation of landlords and other creditors in chapter 11 bankruptcy cases and non-bankruptcy workouts, as well as in other matters surrounding the sale, lease or restructuring of distressed real estate. Mr. Branch regularly represents shopping center owners, managers, developers and management companies in retail bankruptcies in bankruptcy courts throughout the United States, including in California, New York and Delaware. He has extensive experience representing multiple locations in some of the largest retail bankruptcy cases in the...

Brian Huben, Partner, Katten Muchin Rosenman Law Firm

Brian D. Huben concentrates his practice in commercial litigation in state and federal courts. His practice focuses on the representation of commercial landlords and shopping center owners, managers and developers. Brian represents landlords and other creditors throughout the US in retailer bankruptcies, often providing counsel to dozens of shopping center owners in each case. He also counsels commercial landlords in day-to-day operational matters such as evictions, breach of lease issues, public access and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Stacey Knight, partner, Katten Muchin Rosenman Law Firm

Stacey McKee Knight is a member of Katten’s Board of Directors and the firm’s Executive Committee. She concentrates her litigation practice in the areas of labor and employment law. Stacey represents management in a variety of labor relations matters, including collective bargaining, arbitration, picketing and leafleting, injunction proceedings and unfair labor practice charges. She also represents employers in litigation and day-to-day preventive counseling, including hiring, promotion, disability accommodation and termination of their employees and compliance with local,...