UPDATE - March 24, 2018
Here is an opportunity to learn about this new program and how building owners can comply.
In 2016, a law was passed requiring building and business owners to make all primary entrances from the public way accessible for people with disabilities: The Accessible Business Entrance Program. The Program helps people with disabilities gain greater access to goods and services offered by businesses and helps businesses better comply with existing State and Federal accessibility
The San Francisco Department of Building Inspection, in partnership with the Office of Small Business, SF Planning, Public Works, Mayor's Office on Disability and Access Appeals Commission are hosting educational workshops to help building owners understand the requirements of the Program.
If the tenant is determined to be responsible, the Department will ask the owner to consider that it may be to his or her advantage to assist in the cost of any remedial work because this ordinance may not have been foreseen by the tenant or owner when the lease agreement was signed.
NOTE: If the owner or tenant claimed and received an Unreasonable Hardship due to excessive cost, the determination of the Access Appeals Commission may include restrictions on the property that may affect what type of businesses are allowed to lease this property in the future without repairing the barriers to access.
- Is my Building Exempt from the Ordinance?
- What are the Responsibilities of the Owner and Tenant?
- Steps to Comply with Program Requirements
- Other Resources
UPDATE - September 29, 2017
Here are two important items to review regarding this ordinance that BOMA San Francisco members worked on with Supervisor Katy Tang in 2015 and 2016.
- San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (SFDBI) is the agency responsible for writing the guidelines regarding implementing this ordinance. The measure is detailed below or you can review the law by clicking here. According to SFDBI staff, draft guidelines are still in development. We'll alert you when that document is available.
- Supervisor Tang has introduced a companion measure that would extend the compliance time frame for existing buildings owners.
- The time within which the owner of an existing building with a place of public accommodation has to comply with the mandatory disability access requirements as prescribed in the original ordinance for the primary entrance and path of travel into the building will be extended by one year. Also extended by one year is the time for the Department of Building Inspection to submit a written report to the Board and the six-year limitation on granting extensions of time to comply.
- Please click here to review the ordinance and email BOMA San Francisco's Director of Government and Industry Affairs, John Bozeman at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Original Post - October 2, 2015
BOMA members have been monitoring legislation introduced by Supervisor Katy Tang: Mandatory Disability Access Improvements.
This ordinance, if passed, would relieve tenants of any responsibility for accessibility improvements or documentation establishing a technically infeasible situation or unreasonable hardship and place it squarely on the building owners.
Additionally, this legislation would establish a Disability Access Compliance Unit within the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (SFDBI) to monitor this program, set fees to administer it, provide guidance and advice on specific situations, as well as issue determinations of technical infeasibility or unreasonable hardship.
- San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (SFDBI) Staffing
- Ordinance compliance by SFDBI might be an issue due to workflow demand increase if this measure were to pass.
- How can building owners be assured that the turnaround time will be a fast one?
- Lease Negotiation
- Our members are concerned that allowing SFDBI to be the arbiter of ADA issues in private buildings will impede the lease negotiation process.
- This was also an issue in 2013 when we worked with then Supervisor David Chiu on his ADA legislation: http://bomasanfrancisco.blogspot.com/2013/01/update-disability-access-ada.html
- Note that the same suggestions our members had in 2013, below, apply to this proposal:
- Commercial property owners provide an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) disclosure to tenants/potential tenants to help educate them on the requirements of the ADA implications of non-compliance.
- Allow a commercial property owner/tenant MORE time to correct primary entries/path of travel to ADA specific requirements in a tenant space. That is, set a due date for absolute compliance sometime farther into the future (e.g., 5-10 years) with a requirement to update primary entries/path of travel before the due date if new tenant occupies the space.
- This suggestion was based on the San Francisco High Rise Sprinkler Ordinance passed in 1993 that had similar requirements for compliance with regard to sprinklers in high-rise buildings.
- Lease Negotiation Process
- Commercial property owners need to have the ability to negotiate the costs associated with any tenant improvement with the tenant. This includes any costs associated with ADA compliance.
- Building Owner is Fully Responsible for ADA Repairs
- From our GAPAC meeting, it’s clear this is a major source of contention with our small building owners.
- As mentioned above, our members need to have the leeway to negotiate who pays for the tenant improvement.
- Perhaps any mention of the owner paying for upgrades can be amended to include owner and/or lessee.
- Technical Infeasibility
- Readily achievable should be the term used - in other words, easily accomplished and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense for the tenant/owner.
- Post 2002 Building Exemption(Pg. 6; lines 11-15 – Chapter 11D; Sec. 1101D)
- Building owner/owners authorized agent must provide a written notice of exemption that provides a construction permit application dates on or after January 1, 2002.
- SFDBI should already have this information on file.