Landlords and tenants in California are responsible for ensuring that commercial spaces are accessible to everyone under the Americans with Disabilities Act. A person with a disability can sue either or both if they find conditions that do not comply with the law. Furthermore, while landlords and tenants can stipulate who is responsible for making changes in their contract, judges are not required to enforce that part of the commercial real estate contract if someone brings them to court. While tenants and landlords can make agreements, generally, landlords are responsible for any required structural changes to the building and areas shared between tenants while tenants are responsible for ensuring that the interior is ADA-compliant.
Buildings that must be ADA compliant
There are many types of buildings that must be ADA-compliant, including:
• All kinds of lodging having six or more rooms
• Restaurants and bars
• Places of entertainment, such as theaters
• Sites for public gatherings, such as convention centers
• Retail shops
• Service establishments, ranging from laundries to law offices
• Places for recreation, such as playgrounds and zoos
• Schools and universities
• Social service establishments, such as community centers
Exterior building requirements
There must be an accessible path into public buildings. Approaches and entrances must be at least 36 inches wide. If a ramp is needed, it should rise at most 1 inch for every 12 inches in length as long as there is room. There must be handrails on both sides of the ramp. Furthermore, assuming regular parking is offered, there must be one wheelchair-accessible parking spot for every 25 regular ones, and at least one must be van-accessible. Additionally, if the typical route crosses a curb, there must be a curb ramp. Landlords are typically responsible for making these commercial real estate changes.
Tenants and landlords must work together to ensure that a commercial property is ADA-compliant.