CDC Commercial Inc

How to help avoid an ADA Lawsuit and what are small businesses doing about inflation?

Brokers Giving DirectionsHow commercial real estate brokers give directions…


Well three 75 basis point hikes by the Fed would seem to be sending the message that fighting inflation is job number one. They are going to whack markets down until everyone believes the narrative. Unfortunately, inflation is not just a number nor is it just the cost of gas or dollars per hour wage. It’s an attitude. I remember the late 1970s and early ‘80s, when Paul Volcker struggled to tame inflation. Despite double digit interest rates, it wasn’t until he realized he had to change how people and companies thought until he had success. Right now, people think they have to pay more or charge more or make more.

People say things are different this time. Investors are betting that we live in a digital world and a simple flick of the interest rate switch will quickly revert things back to normal. Well, I’ll tell you that I do think things are different this time. In the ‘70s and ‘80s, debt levels were lower and asset valuations were cheap. Today, our economy relies heavily on debt for consumption and to rollover maturing debt to avoid bankruptcy. High interest rates will be exponentially more damaging now than they were 40 years ago.

In a recent American Express survey, 75% of small businesses surveyed reported being impacted by inflation. Interestingly, those surveyed reported nearly double their last year’s revenues while profits were down slightly (-4%). Small business leaders reported that 37% planned to raise prices, 22% were going to negotiate better deals with supplies and 22% were going to cut lower margin products and services. Thirty-three percent planned to strengthen customer relations to increase revenues. Lastly, 47% said inflation is impacting their labor market due to higher healthcare, employee benefits or increased raises.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) litigation continues to rise. Many owners and tenants wonder, “Will I be next?” Lack of knowledge is not a valid defense with respect to access compliance. ADA lawsuits are costly and time consuming experiences. A common misconception is that accessibility modifications are necessary only when the property is upgraded. However, the ADA requires “readily achievable” barrier removal regardless of whether or not alterations to the property are made. Because there is no enforcement agency for ADA, individual lawsuits are now the most common way to become aware of violations at a property.

The first step is to have an inspection and report by a Certified Access Specialist (CASp). They can determine violations, what is readily achievable, create a priority schedule and assist you in getting the work performed. Once armed with a CASp report and plan, you have your first line of defense formed.

In 2016, Assembly Bill 2093 went into effect requiring landlords to provide prospective tenants with any report and/or disability access inspection certificate issued by a CASp for the premises being leased. In addition, landlords are required to insert in their leases the following:

1.      A disclosure stating whether or not the subject premises have undergone inspection by a CASp; and

2.      A statutory CASp inspection disclosure when an access inspection certificate has not been issued for the subject premises.

If the subject premises have undergone inspection by a CASp, and there have been no modifications which have impacted accessibility since that inspection, then the landlord is required to provide the prospective tenant with a copy of any report prepared by the CASp in connection with that inspection. The tenant must keep such reports confidential, except as necessary for the tenant to make repairs.

In addition, the prospective tenant has the right to review any CASp report at least 48 hours prior to execution of the lease. If the report is not provided to the tenant, the tenant has a right to rescind the lease based upon information contained in the report for 72 hours after execution of the lease. If the CASp report indicates that the subject premises meet applicable standards, the landlord must provide a copy of the current disability access inspection certificate and any inspection report to the tenant within seven days of the date of execution of the lease.

If a subject premises has not been issued a disability access inspection certificate, the landlord must include the following specific language in the lease:

“A Certified Access Specialist (CASp) can inspect the subject premises and determine whether the subject premises comply with all of the applicable construction-related accessibility standards under state law. Although state law does not require a CASp inspection of the subject premises, the commercial property owner or lessor may not prohibit the lessee or tenant from obtaining a CASp inspection of the subject premises for the occupancy or potential occupancy of the lessee or tenant, if requested by the lessee or tenant. The parties shall mutually agree on the arrangements for the time and manner of the CASp inspection, the payment of the fee for the CASp inspection, and the cost of making any repairs necessary to correct violations of construction-related accessibility standards within the premises.”

Below are several CASp inspectors if you are interested to pursue further for your business or property. Please let us know if you get a report so we can act accordingly with regards to disclosures and leases for your property.

Greg Izor –

Jason James –

Craig Lobnow –

Nick’s Numbers

This month, I am sharing a chart that shows CPI / Inflation over the last 8 decades and how hard it was for Fed Chair Volcker to get it back under control.

CPI over time

Please give me a call or email me if you would like an analysis of your properties’ value or discuss what you should be doing with regards to interest rates or inflation and their impacts on your business, tenants, or property (Nick Zech, 858-232-2100,

In our overinflated world of social media, the team here at CDC Commercial is trying to win the hearts of our actual clients, not “likes” on social media. In the meantime, government continues to use its bureaucracy to make “things” less readily available and more expensive. Ultimately, personal choices will determine whether or not behavior around “things” and their cost will shift in the long term. Personal choice is always the key to everything…hope you enjoy the story…

The Taxi Driver

“I was waiting in line for a ride at the airport. When a cab pulled up, the first thing I noticed was the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back passenger door for me.

He handed me a laminated card and said, ‘I’m Wasu, your driver. While I’m loading your bags in the trunk, I’d like you to read my mission statement.’

Taken aback, I read the card. It said, ‘Wasu’s Mission Statement: To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest, and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment.’

This blew me away. Especially when I noticed the inside of the cab matched the outside. Spotlessly clean!

As he slid behind the wheel, Wasu said, ‘Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf.’

I said jokingly, ‘No, I’d prefer a soft drink.’

Wasu smiled and said, ‘No problem. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, lassi, water, and orange juice.’

Almost stuttering, I said, ‘I’ll take a lassi since I’ve never had one before.’

Handing me my drink, Wasu said, ‘If you’d like something to read, I have Good Housekeeping magazine, Reader’s Digest, The Bible, and a Travel + Leisure magazine.’

As we were pulling away, Wasu handed me another laminated card, ‘These are the stations I get and the music they play, if you’d like to listen to the radio.’

And as if that weren’t enough, Wasu told me he had the heater on and asked if the temperature was comfortable for me.

Then he advised me of the best route to my destination for that time of day. He also let me know he’d be happy to chat and tell me about some of the sights or, if I preferred, to leave me with my own thoughts.

‘Tell me, Wasu,’ I was amazed and asked him, ‘Have you always served customers like this?’

Wasu smiled into the rear-view mirror. ‘No, not always. In fact, it’s only been in the last two years. My first five years driving, I spent most of my time complaining like all the rest of the cabbies do. Then I heard about power of choice one day.’

‘Power of choice is that you can be a duck or an eagle. If you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you’ll rarely disappoint yourself. Stop complaining! Don’t be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.’

‘That hit me right,’ said Wasu. He continued and said, ‘It is about me. I was always quacking and complaining, so I decided to change my attitude and become an eagle. I looked around at the other cabs and their drivers. The cabs were dirty, the drivers were unfriendly, and the customers were unhappy. So, I decided to make some changes. I put in a few at a time. When my customers responded well, I did more.’

‘I take it that has paid off for you,’ I said.

‘It sure has,’ Wasu replied. ‘My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year, I’ll probably quadruple it. My customers call me for appointments on my cell phone or leave a message on it.’

Wasu made a different choice. He decided to stop quacking like ducks and start soaring like eagles. I hope we all decide to soar like an eagle and not quack like a duck.”

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