Ideas to consider when purchasing a new home or commercial property
Ever purchased a new property and felt overwhelmed with not only the move, but simply enjoying your new space for what it’s worth. Often times we move into a new home or commercial property, and discover it’s lacking something. When you first hired your local construction guy to come look at the house or commercial property for flaws in the structure, water damage in the basement, or foundation problems that would doom your new investment. Yet you couldn’t predict the emptiness that was to come with your new property without actually living there and seeing it for yourself.
Tims Home Inspections was created to not only give insight to obvious inspection items to look for, but to also offer a place for amazing ideas to come to life regarding your new property.
Ideas that will encourage you to take a chance, break ground and install a new beautiful waterfall in your backyard, or pavers on your driveway. Yet each of these pose a risk of their own, not only financially, but potentially law-suit material some commercial properties wouldn’t consider without knowing better.
For example, do you own a commercial property?
Did you know some states has ADA Compliance laws, laws that state “if you dont create reasonable accommodations for the disabled” – your property could face up to $4,000 per lack of disability access. What is disability access? Anything that can stop a handicap person from entering a facility, use a restroom, access a public pool, or park in your parking lot.
Refer to this video for more information regarding ADA Access and your commercial property. This is a major item Tims home inspections will be addressing over the next few months as sadly many Americans are facing “ADA-Abuse” lawsuits on their properties.
Here are some FAQ often associated with being ADA Compliant.
What is a CASP Inspector?
A Certified Access Specialist (CASp) is a professional who has passed an examination and has been certified by the State of California to have specialized knowledge of the applicability of state and federal construction-related accessibility standards. A CASp will know which standards apply to your property based on the age of your facility and its history of improvements. While a licensed design professional, such as an architect or engineer, can provide you an access compliance evaluation of your facility, only a CASp can provide services that offer you “qualified defendant” status in a construction-related accessibility lawsuit.
How do I find a CASp?
We can help you with your inspection. You can find an independent CASp on the list by looking for the CASp in your geographic region that states he/she performs inspections. For ease in using the list, click on the “Phone #” link in the gray header of the list, and the list will sort by area code. Those with a “Yes” in the “Do Inspections” column are independent CASps who are available for hire.
You may also consult with a CASp by contacting your local city or county building department; however, a CASp employed or retained by a local building department is only authorized to offer information regarding compliance to California construction-related accessibility standards, and not the ADA, and will usually only provide these services for new construction, additions, or alterations submitted for approval for permit.
What are the “qualified defendant;” status benefits?
You can retain the services of a CASp at any time, however, “qualified defendant” status is only provided if you receive an inspection of your existing facility, a report from a CASp, and have a compliance schedule in place before a construction-related accessibility claim is filed. The “qualified defendant” benefits are as follows:
Reduced statutory damages (See “What is my potential liability if I am not in compliance?”; for more information
90-day stay of court proceeding and an early evaluation conference.
Additionally, an inspection by a CASp and following the schedule of improvements demonstrates the intent to be in compliance.
What is the ADA and how does it apply to my business or facility?
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination of individuals with disabilities and requires all facilities used by the public (public accommodations) to be accessible to individuals with disabilities. Since January 26, 1992, all new construction, additions and alterations are required to comply with the ADA standards. The ADA contains no “grandfathering” provisions. The “applicable construction-related accessibility standards” are based on the age of the facility and/or date of renovation(s):
Facilities Built/Renovated Before January 26, 1992 Places of public accommodation constructed before this date are required to remove barriers if it is “readily achievable to do so” – a CASp can help make this determination.
Facilities Built/Renovated Between January 26, 1992 and March 14, 2012 Places of public accommodation built during this time are required to be in compliance with the 1991 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards (1991 ADAS) or the equivalent provision in the building code in place at the time of construction or renovation. Additionally, barriers must be removed if it is readily achievable to do so.
Facilities Built/Renovated after March 15, 2012 Places of public accommodation and commercial facilities built after this time must be built in compliance with the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards (2010 ADAS) and the standards of the building code in place at the time of construction or renovation.
In addition, accessible features are required to be maintained at your facility. Failure to come into compliance or maintain compliance leaves you vulnerable to having a discrimination claim filed against you by an individual that is denied access to your business or facility due to physical access barriers.
If my facility isn’t compliant with the current building code, does that mean I have a violation?
While the building code changes regularly, these changes do not cause a facility to become non-compliant. Facilities must comply with both federal and state accessibility standards; however, the current version of state and federal accessibility standards is not necessarily applicable to your existing facility. A CASp will know, based on its age and history of improvements, which version of the code and standards (also known as the “construction-related accessibility standard.”) is applicable for determining compliance of your facility.
Is my home at risk for an ADA Lawsuit?
Not typically. Homes do not qualify as a public place therefor do not need to be ADA compliant. If your home is a multi-family dwelling available for rent to the public, we always suggest contacting your local ada consulting firms. Hiring an ADA company to review your property (even if it might not be at risk) will show the courts you did actually take a pro-active approach towards being ADA compliant. The goal with ADA to show you have made “reasonable accommodations” for the disabled if your property is accessible to the public that is.