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$500/Day Fine Coming for balcony repair non-Compliant for Landlords

Updated: Mar 24, 2023


By Omid Ghanadiof, EEEAdvisor Engineering

In California, a new law has been enacted that requires landlords to have their balconies inspected and repaired if necessary. Senate Bill 721, also known as the Balcony Inspection Law, was signed into law in October 2019 and will go into effect on January 1, 2024. The law requires all landlords of multi-unit residential buildings with three or more units to have their balconies inspected by a licensed structural engineer, who must then provide a report to the local building department.

The purpose of this law is to prevent balcony collapses, which have become a serious issue in California in recent years. In 2015, a balcony collapse in Berkeley killed six people and injured seven others. This tragedy led to the creation of SB 721, which aims to ensure that balconies in multi-unit residential buildings are safe for residents to use.

Under SB 721, landlords who fail to have their balconies inspected and repaired if necessary will face a fine of $500 per day until the inspection and any necessary repairs are completed. This fine is significant and can quickly add up, so it is important for landlords to understand the requirements of the law and take action to comply.

The first step for landlords is to determine whether their building is covered by the law. SB 721 applies to multi-unit residential buildings with three or more units, including apartments, condominiums, and co-operative housing. If a building meets this criteria, the landlord must have a licensed structural engineer inspect the balconies and provide a report to the local building department.


The inspection must be performed by a licensed structural engineer who is experienced in inspecting balconies and determining the safety of these structures. The engineer must inspect all balconies, including those that are not currently in use, and provide a written report to the local building department. The report must include a description of the condition of the balconies and any recommendations for repair or replacement.

If the inspection reveals that repairs are needed, the landlord must complete the repairs within a reasonable time frame, as determined by the local building department. The repairs must be completed by a licensed contractor and must be done in accordance with building code requirements.

Once the repairs are completed, the landlord must provide a copy of the repair certificate to the local building department. This certificate must be signed by the contractor who performed the repairs and must state that the balconies are now in compliance with building code requirements.

It is important for landlords to understand that the $500 per day fine applies even if the balcony inspection reveals that no repairs are needed. The fine will be imposed if the landlord fails to have the balconies inspected within the required time frame or fails to provide the required report to the local building department. In addition to SB 721, California has also enacted another law that impacts landlords, Senate Bill 326. This law, which went into effect on January 1, 2022, requires landlords to retrofit their existing buildings to comply with current seismic safety standards. The purpose of SB 326 is to ensure that buildings can withstand earthquakes and protect the safety of residents.

Like SB 721, SB 326 applies to multi-unit residential buildings with three or more units, and landlords who fail to comply with the requirements of the law face significant fines. The law requires landlords to retrofit their buildings to meet current seismic safety standards within a specified time frame, which varies depending on the type of building and the size of the structure.

In summary, both SB 721 and SB 326 are important pieces of legislation that impact landlords in California. Landlords must take action to comply with both laws in order to ensure the safety of their buildings and avoid significant fines.


It is important for landlords to take the requirements of SB 721 seriously and take the necessary steps to comply with the law. By doing so, they can ensure that their balconies are safe for residents to use and avoid the imposition of costly fines.

In short, the Balcony Inspection Law (SB721) requires all landlords of multi-unit residential buildings with three or more units to have their balconies inspected by a licensed structural engineer and repaired if necessary. The purpose of this law is to prevent balcony collapses and ensure that balconies are safe for residents to use. Landlords who fail to comply with the law will face a fine of $500 per day.


In conclusion, SB 721 is a significant piece of legislation that will impact landlords of multi-unit residential buildings in California. Landlords must take action to comply with the law and have their balconies inspected by a licensed structural engineer. Failure to do so will result in a fine of $500 per day, which can quickly add up and become a significant financial burden.




Omid Ghanadiof is a co-founder of EEEadvisor Engineering, a specialized engineering inspection firm active located in Southern California. EEEadvisor Engineering assists rental property owners and homeowners associations (HOAs) with compliance with state mandated balcony inspections per Senate Bills 721 and 326. For more information, contact Mr. Ghanadiof at (805) 312-8513 or info@EEEadvisor.com.

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