Contact: Erin King, Executive Director
Time to Update Your Rental Agreement Concerning Accessibility
June 11th 2013 - It is always better to think ahead than to wait for trouble to come knocking on your door. The CSSA is acutely aware that its members need to be informed and ready for any and all changes taking place in the industry. The latest involved accessibility inspections and your rental agreements.
Does your facility provide proper access to those with disabilities? Has your facility been inspected by a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) and been determined to meet all applicable construction-related accessibility standards set up in Civil Code 55.53? Regardless of your answer to those questions, starting on July 1 you will want to have it written into your rental agreements if you want to avoid future ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) legal entanglements.
Here is what Carlos Kaslow wrote about the subject in the Self Storage Legal Review:
"On July 1, 2013 all California commercial landlords, including self-storage operators, must have rental agreements that comply with Civil Code section 1938 which states:
"A commercial property owner or lessor shall state on every lease form or rental agreement executed on or after July 1, 2013, whether the property being leased or rented has undergone inspection by a Certified Access Specialist (CASp), and, if so, whether the property has or has not been determined to meet all applicable construction-related accessibility standards pursuant to Section 55.53."
The law does not specify the form or placement of this disclosure, but it does require that it be in the rental agreement. Facilities that have been inspected and state that is has been inspected by a certified inspector and is in compliance with state and federal accessibility standards will be less inviting targets to the ADA lawsuit industry."
Here is the good news – the CSSA sells a rental agreement template that Kaslow has already updated to include the above requirement. In fact, the CSSA’s rental agreement template (which can be purchased for a one-time fee of $349) is constantly being updated and sent to members who have purchased it.
"The CSSA is ahead of the curve on this change and we want to be sure all of our members have a rental agreement that is current with state and federal law,” says Erin King, executive director of the CSSA. "This is a terrific CSSA member benefit in that the cost of having an attorney draft your agreement and annually review it for you far outweighs the minimal investment the CSSA asks from our members.”
As Kaslow and King have made clear, the ability to avoid future ADA lawsuits can hinge on whether you have the proper wording in your rental agreements. And while it makes sense to have a Certified Access Specialist inspect your property, even if you haven’t been inspected you need mention of that in your rental agreement.
"All of our members who have purchased the template in the past are eligible to receive the updated template free of charge,” adds King. "We strongly encourage our members to review the agreements as soon as possible to ensure they are in compliance with this required change.”
For more information about the CSSA and its products, please visit www.californiaselfstorage.org.
About The California Self-Storage Association
Founded in 2002, the California Self Storage Association (CSSA) is the state not-for-profit trade organization dedicated to serving the California Self-Storage industry including owner-operators, facility managers and industry vendors. The CSSA represents some 450 direct member companies that own and operate over 1,200 facilities in California. CSSA direct members range from individual facility owner-operators to multiple-facility operations, to the industry's largest publicly traded Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).