Balcony & Deck Inspections: California law requires multifamily properties to be inspected regularly

by | Mar 28, 2023 | Property Inspection Advice

SB721 is a law in California that requires multifamily owners to have their balconies inspected regularly to ensure their safety and structural integrity.

The law imposes deadlines for these inspections, with the first deadline requiring balconies to be inspected before or by January 1, 2025.

This deadline is designed to ensure that owners can identify and address any issues before they become a danger to residents.

The California Building Standards Code currently allows enforcement agencies to inspect buildings and premises to ensure compliance with building standards and regulations.

SB721 proposes new regulations for exterior elevated elements, including decks and balconies, of buildings with 3 or more multifamily dwelling units.

Under the proposed bill, licensed architects, licensed civil or structural engineers, building contractors with specific licenses, or certified building inspectors or officials would be required to conduct inspections of exterior elevated elements and associated waterproofing elements.

The inspection report must include specific items, and a copy of the report must be provided to the building owner within 45 days of completion. The report must be maintained in the building owner’s records for two inspection cycles.

If the inspection identifies any immediate hazards to the occupants’ safety, the report must be delivered to the owner within 15 days, and emergency repairs must be undertaken immediately, with notice given to the local enforcement agency.

Non-emergency repairs must be completed within 120 days unless an extension is granted by local authorities.

Local enforcement agencies would be authorized to recover costs associated with these requirements.

If repairs are not completed on time, the enforcement agency must send a 30-day corrective notice to the building owner.

Failure to comply with these provisions may result in specified civil penalties and liens against the property for the owner of the building.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on multifamily owners in California, causing a delay in physical and economic progress of up to two years.

This has highlighted the importance of ensuring the safety and structural integrity of buildings, which is where SB721 comes into play.

There is also a second deadline for inspections, which is set six years after the first deadline. However, owners who complete the first deadline before January 1, 2025, are exempt from the second inspection until January 1, 2031.

This provides an incentive for owners to ensure their balconies are inspected promptly and thoroughly, as they will have a longer period until the next inspection if they do so.

In addition to the inspection requirements, multifamily owners must provide any past inspection reports to potential buyers when selling the building to demonstrate that it meets the standards set by SB721.

This can be a crucial selling point for owners, as buyers are increasingly concerned about the safety and structural integrity of the buildings they purchase.

Overall, SB721 is an important law that helps ensure the safety and well-being of residents in California’s multifamily buildings.

By requiring regular inspections of balconies and providing deadlines for these inspections, the law helps owners identify and address any potential issues before they become a danger to residents.

If you need an inspector to assist you in Southern California, please contact us at 619-473-2133 for a free quote.

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