If you’re entering into a commercial lease as a landlord or as a tenant, make sure the space is in compliance with public accommodation laws. Otherwise, you could find yourself paying a fortune in structural and design changes. Fortunately, there are tax breaks available to businesses that make building alterations to comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The law requires that disabled people have equal, or similar, access provided to the general public if any of the following apply:
The requirement applies only to public accommodations, such as banks, travel or insurance agencies, restaurants, day care centers and health clubs.
Under the ADA, covered businesses are required to immediately remove architectural and communications barriers if such work is “readily achievable” and can be accomplished “without much difficulty or expense.” The language is vague, so a case-by-case determination is necessary to determine whether you need to make architectural or structural changes to the premises.
The changes can include any or all of the following:
Keep the ADA requirements in mind when you are renewing or negotiating a new lease. Your attorney may be able to negotiate the contracts so that the owner or building manager takes on the responsibility.
It’s important to navigate the maze of legal obligations so your business doesn’t incur litigation and other costly delays. Meeting the requirements of the ADA, as well as state and local laws, can delay sales, closings and occupancy. You don’t want to initiate building redesigns or wait weeks for permits or certificates of occupancy.
Two tax breaks are available to businesses to help cover the cost of making improvements to comply with the ADA.
Please contact Thomas Burton via our online contact form for more information.
Councilor, Buchanan & Mitchell (CBM) is a professional services firm delivering tax, accounting and business advisory expertise throughout the Mid-Atlantic region from offices in Bethesda, MD and Washington, DC.