California Civil Code section 1938 was recently amended to discuss accessibility inspections, particularly for commercial properties. The upshot of this modification is a commercial property owner or lessor is now requred to 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 (referred to as a CASp). If it has been inspected, the owner/lessor must also disclose whether the property has been determined to meet all the applicable construction-related accessibility standards pursuant to Section 55.53.
This CASp inspection is optional. However, in theory, if you had an inspection and were certified and approved, there are certain protections or expedited court-settlement procedures available if you are ever sued or charged for failure to meet an accessibility standard. Whether these benefits are actually worth anything to California self-storage owners remains to be seen; so at this time, I don’t recommend that you rush out and get approved/certified unless you have a personal reason to do so. As cases involving accessibility with CASp approval wind their way through the court system, I may feel otherwise; but for now, I can’t determine whether any real savings or additional protection is achieved, or whether the expedited litigation procedures will offset the cost and difficulty of getting inspected and certified.
However, beginning July 1 or sooner, self-storage owners in California must add a sentence to their rental agreement indicating whether or not they have been CASp inspected. If you have been inspected, whether or not you were certified, please contact me for alternative language. If you have not been inspected, please add the following sentence to your rental agreement. I prefer that you add it on the first or last page, but it’s up to you. You can make this change yourself:
“California Accessibility Notice: The self storage facility has not undergone inspection by a Certified Access Specialist (CASp).”
Naturally, if you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office.