California Landlord Liability Issues That Should Be Addressed Immediately - Article Banner

Rental laws in California are notoriously strict and incredibly detailed. With commercial properties, there’s an extra layer or two of complexity due to the nature of real estate. 

When you own commercial property, you rent space out to businesses. Those commercial tenants own their business, but they don’t own the space they’re operating out of. That belongs to you. So, how do you handle liability issues? 

It requires a deep understanding of commercial real estate law, especially as it pertains to California. Some specific property types have their own liability laws. 

Let’s talk about the liability issues that are most important to a successful and risk-free investment experience.

Americans With Disabilities Act

The federal law protecting people with disabilities is the Americans with Disabilities Act. The California Disabled Persons Act makes non-compliance with the ADA a violation of California civil rights, and enables people with disabilities to sue a violating business for damages. 

You’re required to provide accommodations that allow people with disabilities to access and enjoy commercial space in the same way as people without disabilities. The most common examples of these accommodations are wheelchair ramps, designated parking spaces, and bathroom stalls that are larger and include safety bars and seats. 

State and federal laws require you to remove any existing barriers that might prevent a person with a disability from accessing your building. Both commercial property owners and tenants can be held accountable for ADA violations. Make sure you’re in compliance, and write the compliance requirement into your commercial leases as well. 

Benefits of CASp Inspections

Because it’s so easy to make a mistake with ADA compliance, we recommend you have a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) inspection conducted at your commercial property to ensure it meets all the requirements of accessibility. 

Hire an inspection with a licensed professional who has fulfilled the requirements set out by the Division of the State Architect (DSA). Your inspector will evaluate your building to ensure you’re compliant with accessibility standards. The good-faith effort of hiring a CASp may reduce your liability and provide legal protection if there’s a claim filed against you or your property. 

Bad Commercial Tenants Bring Liability

Choosing the right tenants for your Victorville commercial property is important for a lot of reasons. It ensures you get the rent paid on time and that your property is protected. 

It’s also a matter of liability. 

Bad tenants can be a nuisance to other tenants in the building. They can conduct criminal or illegal acts in your building. They might skirt certain federal and state laws or take advantage of the trust you’ve placed in them. 

Make sure your lease agreement is detailed and clear about your expectations and what’s permitted and not permitted. Don’t hesitate to evict a tenant who has stopped paying rent, violated the lease agreement, or damaged your property.

Bad Vendors and High Desert Commercial Properties 

Unlicensed WorkerNot only can tenants bring liability to your commercial investments – vendors can, too. 

If you hire an unlicensed worker to make repairs on your building and they get injured, you might find yourself paying their medical bills and defending yourself against a lawsuit. Don’t work with vendors who are not licensed and insured. 

You might also encounter a vendor who damages your property or harms a commercial tenant. You’ll want to be sure you have your own insurance up to date and be rigorous in your vendor screening. Don’t hire someone just because they’re available and cheap. 

Reducing liability and risk for your commercial investments often comes down to good property management. If you need some help protecting your property, please contact us at Preston-Lee Management Company. We’ve been providing property management services in the High Desert for more than 20 years.