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New Law to Help with Drive-by Lawsuits

Property owners and managers may see some relief to the frivolous lawsuits that have plagued the commercial real estate industry since with the tightening of building codes related to the American Disabilities Act.

There is no doubt that the civil rights laws have improved accessibility to offices, retail establishments, schools, and public places and raised awareness to the needs of Americans with disabilities. However, there have been some unintended consequences that have come with the related building code changes. Namely, the thousands of frivolous lawsuits that target properties solely for financial gain. Also known as drive-by lawsuits, a Miami Herald article cites statistics that show that in the last five years 6,000 suites were files by just 12 plaintiffs.

Under the new law, business or property owner can hire a qualified expert to perform an inspection and issue a "certificate of conformity." If not in compliance, a remediation plan can be developed allowing up to 10 years to initiate and complete the program, according to the Miami Herald article. This allows businesses and property owner to take substantive measures to insulate themselves from suits.

Click here for more information about the new statue that was received unanimous approval in the Florida House and Senate.

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