Beginning July 1, 2013, California Civil Code Section 1938 will require every commercial property landlord to state in its leases whether or not the property has been inspected by a Certified Access Specialist (CASp). The statute will apply to every commercial lease, and will trigger negotiations between landlord and tenant concerning compliance costs in the event that the property has not been inspected, a CASp report issued, and required modifications made. Already, the state of California, in its capacity as a tenant, requires that all buildings that it occupies comply with the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disability Act. It appears that this new statute will force landlords to address this issue with all tenants and to potentially absorb such costs in a market that is currently favoring the tenant.
Therefore, any tenant negotiating a new lease should immediately ask for the CASp report. If none exist, then the tenant needs to request an indemnification by the landlord for any noncompliance, and the tenant should further make sure that the lease provides that the expenses related to future compliance cannot be passed through to the tenant either as a direct cost or an indirect cost included as part of the common area maintenance charges or operating expenses for the project.