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  • Writer's pictureCommercial Property

ADA Compliance - Who is Responsible?

This is a common question and concern for new buyers and lessees of commercial real estate buildings, especially for older buildings that predate the Americans with Disabilities Act which was enacted during the 1990’s.


The short answer to this question is both. It is the responsibility of both the owner and the tenant to be in compliance with ADA safety standards anytime the building is being occupied and used for any purpose that serves the public.

Who Is Protected?

Title I of the ADA protects qualified individuals with disabilities from employment discrimination. Under the ADA, a person has a disability if he has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. The ADA also protects individuals who have a record of a substantially limiting impairment, and people who are regarded as having a substantially limiting impairment.

What Are My Obligations to Provide Reasonable Accommodations?

Reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that permits a qualified applicant or employee with a disability to participate in the job application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by employees without disabilities. For example, reasonable accommodation may include:

  • acquiring or modifying equipment or devices,

  • job restructuring,

  • part-time or modified work schedules,

  • reassignment to a vacant position,

  • adjusting or modifying examinations, training materials or policies,

  • providing readers and interpreters, and

  • making the workplace readily accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.


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