What an honor it was to be invited to participate in a Legislative Summit sponsored by the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce at the California State Capitol in Sacramento. ￼It’s 3rd annual event, held on June 20, 2012, was effectively a pro-business lobby day where five small groups, each with four business leaders, descended upon the offices of more than 50 California State Senators and members of the State Assembly. The purpose of these meetings was to offer support in terms of pro-business legislation that is currently being circulated in the State Capitol of Sacramento.
As a Sacramento commercial real estate broker, one bill of particular interest to me was SB 1186, involving frivolous lawsuits pertaining to non-ADA compliant commercial real estate properties and buildings. Many commercial real estate owners and small business owners throughout Sacramento and California are no doubt familiar with stories, or even personal experiences, involving written demands for either timely compliance with ADA requirements or a cash settlement to make the complaint simply go away.
Don’t get me￼ wrong. ADA compliance is an important necessity that provides the ability for disabled persons to access commercial real estate buildings and multifamily apartments throughout Sacramento and our great State of California. However, there should be an appropriate balance that doesn’t harm small businesses or property owners to the extent of having to close or curtail operations due to the high cost of complying with necessary ADA improvements.
SB 1186, co-authored by California State Senate President Pro Tem, Darrel Steinberg, seeks to eliminate the abusive profiting that has occurred from frivolous lawsuits involving opportunistic plaintiffs looking to earn a quick buck. Upon ratification of this bill, legitimate requests for ADA compliance would still be warranted; however, business or commercial real estate owners throughout Sacramento and California could rest assured knowing they would no longer be deliberate targets for illegitimate purposes.
On May 29, 2012, SB 1186 passed the California State Senate with a unanimous vote of 36 to 0. Two weeks later, on June 14, 2012, the bill was referred to the Committee on Judiciary, before it moves on to the Assembly, where it could be voted on as early as August of this year. According to various legislators I spoke with at the State Capitol, these kinds of bills have been attempted before and failed because they lost their teeth before getting through the legislative process. Let’s just hope for the benefit of Sacramento Commercial Real Estate property owners and small business owners this time is different.
Article contributed by Brian Jacks, a Sacramento commercial real estate broker (since 1996), specializing in commercial leasing and investment sale transactions for retail, shopping centers, multifamily, apartments, senior housing, office, industrial, mixed-use, and special purpose properties.