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Real Estate Planning Blog

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Ensure Your Compliance with ADA Laws with a Real Estate Lawyer

What steps can I take to make sure my new building meets ADA requirements without excessive costs to renovate?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990.  This civil rights law prohibits discrimination against disabled individuals.  For businesses, this often requires making modifications to an existing building in order to ensure disabled individuals have full access to the business.  Making ADA accommodations can be expensive and time consuming.  While most business owners are aware of the ADA, few understand their full potential obligations under the law.  This makes it imperative that you consult with a Staten Island real estate lawyer prior to executing your new lease for assistance with ADA compliance matters.  

The Importance of ADA Inspections

Due to the potential cost of bringing a building into ADA compliance, your attorney should advise you to undertake an ADA inspection before you execute the lease.  Without an inspection, you could unwittingly agree to undergo substantial modification costs.  Most commercial leases will include a provision that states the tenant must comply with current and future state and federal regulations, which includes the ADA.  

For tenants that intend to substantially remodel their new building, ADA compliance may not be a significant issue.  Contractors can ensure that changes to the building meet all federal dictates, which includes door size, bathroom size, grab rails, and the like.  However, tenants intending to move into a building and make only minor alterations could find themselves with substantial financial obligations.  

With an ADA inspection complete, your attorney and an experienced contractor or architect can calculate the costs to bring the building into compliance.  Armed with knowledge as to the full extent of your financial obligations once you take over the building, you can negotiate for the best possible outcome. You may be able to negotiate for the landlord to cover some of the costs of the remodel or use your costs to fight for a lower rent.  ADA compliance is crucial as you could face litigation if your building does not provide necessary accommodations, so consult with a real estate lawyer as soon as possible when considering leasing or purchasing a new building.  

 





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