Legal Alerts Jan 2, 2019

New Disability Access Informational Notices Required in California

AB 3002 Took Effect Jan. 1


Cities and counties in California are now required to provide informational notices related to disability access requirements. Assembly Bill 3002, which went into effect Jan. 1, requires cities and counties to provide these notices to individuals applying for business licenses, and building permits for commercial property or a “place of public accommodation” that the general public is invited to utilize. AB 3002, signed Sept. 22 by Gov. Jerry Brown, is intended to educate and encourage businesses to proactively comply with construction-related accessibility requirements before making property improvements — which could help avoid lawsuits or costly construction alterations down the road.
The informational notice must contain the following:

  • Information about compliance requirements under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and the state’s disability access laws;
  • An advisory for commercial building permit applicants that strongly encourages applicants to obtain:
    • A consultation by a Certified Access Specialist – referred to as a “CASp” - prior to construction for the property to comply with disability access laws and
    • An inspection by a CASp after construction to benefit from legal protections (such as a court stay, early evaluation conference or reduced statutory damages) when defending against construction-related accessibility claims;
  • An advisory for business license applicants that strongly encourages applicants to obtain:
    • A consultation by a CASp prior to engaging in business on the premises for the property to comply with disability access laws and
    • An inspection by a CASp after engaging in business on the premises to benefit from legal protections when defending against construction-related accessibility claims;
  • Information on how to locate CASps, including a link to the Division of State Architect website, which provides a directory of CASps;
  • Federal and state programs available to assist small businesses with disability access and compliance costs and

The bill requires DSA to develop and post on its website a model notice that local agencies may use to comply with AB 3002’s requirements. The English version of the model notice is available here.
The informational notices must also be translated and made available in Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese and Korean, and be provided to the applicant in the format the building permit or business license application is required to be submitted. DSA will also be translating its English version of the notice into the other required languages and will post the translated notices on its website once they become available.
Established in 2004, the CASp program is a voluntary program that allows business owners to obtain a formal inspection to protect themselves in the event a disability access lawsuit arises. A CASp inspection is performed by a certified professional to determine whether the property is compliant with disability access requirements. A property or business owner who voluntarily obtains a CASp inspection and corrects a non-intentional violation receives legal protections as a defendant in a construction-related accessibility claim. These protections include reduced statutory damages, the option to request an early evaluation conference and a stay of legal proceedings.
Under AB 3002, cities and counties are responsible only for providing these notices to commercial property and business owners to help educate them about compliance with disability access laws and the benefits of the CASp program.
Additional information concerning CASps and accessibility-related obligations can be found here.
For more information about these regulations, please contact the authors of this Legal Alert listed at the right in the firm’s Municipal Law practice group, or your BB&K attorney.
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Disclaimer: BB&K Legal Alerts are not intended as legal advice. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained herein. Seek the advice of an attorney before acting or relying upon any information in this communiqué.

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