Thanks to a bill signed into law this week, mom-and-pop rental property owners won’t have to worry quite as much about abusive disability-access lawsuits.

Sen. Richard Roth

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed SB 269 by Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside. Under certain circumstances, the bill provides business owners with more time to fix minor ADA compliance violations before being subject to costly court battles.

For example, the law will protect small-business owners from liability for minimum statutory damages in a construction-related accessibility claim for the 120 days following a voluntary inspection by a certified access specialist. Under certain conditions, the business could then identify and correct violations during that period.

The law that governs certified access specialists, or CASPs, and the process of voluntary building inspections was created in California several years ago to give building owners some protections against abusive lawsuits.

SB 269 also would create a presumption that small businesses are not liable for minor violations such as interior and exterior signage or the condition of parking lot paint stripping if the violations are corrected by owners within 15 days of a summons or complaint.

“SB 269 is a narrowly crafted provision to provide businesses with much-needed disability access education, resources and training, and allows small businesses that have been proactive in identifying access issues a reasonable amount of time to fix any problems identified before a lawsuit arises,” Roth said in a news release earlier this year.