More new laws for 2017

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A couple of laws did not make it on the New Laws Alert last week, but we think they are important for our dealer clients to know:

AB 2093 amends an existing disability access law (SB 1186) which requires a landlord to state on every lease form or rental agreement executed on or after July 1, 2013, whether or not the property has been determined by a Certified Access Specialist (CASp) to meet all applicable construction-related accessibility standards. AB 2093 now requires additional disclosure and lease language as follows:

  1. If inspected by A CASp: If the property has had a CASp inspection and there have been no alterations affecting accessibility since that inspection, the commercial property owner/landlord shall provide the prospective tenant with a copy of the CASp report at least 48 hours before the lease or rental agreement is executed.
  2. If meets applicable standards: If the premises have been issued an inspection report indicating that it meets applicable standards, a copy of this report shall be provided to the prospective tenant within seven days after the lease or rental agreement is executed.
  3. If no CASp report: If the premises has not been issued a disability access inspection certificate/CASP report, the lease must include the following: (a) a CASp can inspect the property, (b) a CASp inspection is not required by law, (c) on the prospective tenant’s request, the property owner must allow the tenant’s CASp to inspect the premises, and (d) that the parties must mutually agree on the arrangements for the time and manner of the inspection, the payment of the associated fee, and the cost of making repairs, if specified.
  4. Responsibility: This bill establishes that the landlord is responsible for repairs unless otherwise determined in the lease.
  5. Lease cancellation: If the landlord orders the report it must allow the tenant the opportunity to review it and if the landlord doesn’t respond within 48 hours of signing the lease the tenant has the right to cancel the lease. The tenant may also cancel the lease based on information in the report within 72 hours after execution.

AB 2093 does not require a CASp inspection – no California laws say that. But it does provide a presumption that any ADA violation must be remedied by the owner, unless provided to the contrary in the lease. AB 2093 attempts to clarify the language and framework regarding how accessibility concerns should be handled between the owner/landlord and tenant, so that future lawsuits can be avoided.

If you have questions on how to handle accessibility concerns in your transactions, be sure to check with your real estate or business attorney.

Here are a few quick bytes on some other laws you might want to know about:

AB 1847 requires employers who must notify employees of their eligibility for the federal Earned Income Tax Credit to also notify these employees that they may be eligible for the California earned income tax credit. The bill updates the required notice that must be given to employees.

SB 1342 specifies that a legislative body of a city or county is authorized to delegate that body’s authority to issue subpoenas and to report noncompliance thereof to the judge of the superior court of the county, to a county or city official or department head in order to enforce any local law or ordinance, including local wage laws. The bill would provide legislative findings in support of this provision.

AB 1785 authorizes a driver to operate a handheld wireless telephone or a wireless electronic communications device in a manner requiring the use of the driver’s hand only under specified conditions (The driver’s hand may now be used to activate or deactivate a feature or function of the handheld wireless telephone or wireless communications device with the motion of a single swipe or tap of the driver’s finger).

IRS issues new 2017 mileage reimbursement rates

The IRS has released the new standard mileage rate that can be used by employers to reimburse employees for their business mileage expenses. The new rate for 2017 is 53.5 cents per mile, down a half cent from 54 cents in 2016. Note that this mileage rate is generally regarded as sufficient to reimburse an employee for expenses incurred from business-related car travel including gas, maintenance and insurance. However, if an employee can prove that his/her actual mileage expense is higher, the employer must reimburse for the actual expense incurred.