If you’re in business, you know that compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is essential – especially if you want to avoid litigation. You have some serious concerns with the accessibility in your building or t h e parking lot and pathways to your business, and you’re sure that it could mean trouble if you’re sued.
However, you’re not the owner of the building. Like many small business owners, you only rent your commercial space. Since the building isn’t yours, is it the landlord’s job to worry about ADA compliance?
You’re both on the hook
Under federal law, you and your landlord share the responsibility for ADA compliance in most cases, and that means, in relation to a claim by a disabled person, you are likely to share the obligation (and costs) to bring a building into compliance. You’d also share the consequences – in the form of lawsuits and judgments – when that fails to happen.
However, it’s not always a simple split and, as between the landlord and the tenant dealing with such claims will often require a legal opinion of the terms set forth in the commercial lease. But even if it may be one party’s responsibility under the lease, as to the claim by the disabled person, in most cases both the landlord and the commercial tenant will be responsible, and both may face a judgement against them.
ADA defense is a complicated subject. If you’re uncertain about your obligations under the ADA – or your rights – it’s wisest to get experienced legal guidance.