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California Balcony Inspection Laws: A Complete Guide

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

Living in a balcony apartment or owning a property with balconies in California is a common feature, and it is important to make sure that they are safe to use. With this in mind, the state of California has implemented balcony inspection laws to ensure the safety of residents and visitors.

In this guide, we'll provide you with everything you need to know about balcony inspection laws in California.

What are the Balcony Inspection Laws in California?

The balcony inspection laws in California require property owners to inspect and maintain their balconies regularly. These laws were introduced in response to a tragic incident that took place in Berkeley in 2015, where a balcony collapsed, resulting in six fatalities and seven serious injuries.

Since then, California has implemented new regulations to ensure that property owners take responsibility for the safety of their balconies. Under these regulations, any property with three or more units that have exterior elevated elements, such as balconies, decks, or walkways, must be inspected every six years.

Who is Responsible for the Inspection?

The responsibility of the inspection lies with the property owner. If you are renting an apartment with a balcony, it is the landlord's responsibility to ensure that the balcony is inspected regularly. However, as a tenant, it is your responsibility to report any damage or issues to the landlord immediately.

What Does the Inspection Involve?

During the inspection, a qualified inspector will examine the balcony for any visible signs of damage or decay. This includes checking for water damage, cracks, rotting wood, rust, and other defects that could compromise the structural integrity of the balcony.

The inspector will also check the railing and guardrail systems to ensure they are secure and meet the necessary safety requirements. Additionally, the inspection will evaluate the load capacity of the balcony, ensuring it can safely support the weight it was designed for.

What Happens if the Balcony Fails the Inspection?

If the inspector finds any issues during the inspection, the property owner will be notified and given a reasonable time frame to address the problem. In some cases, the inspector may recommend immediate action to prevent any safety risks.

The property owner will need to hire a licensed contractor to repair the balcony or make necessary changes to ensure that it meets safety requirements. After the repairs or modifications are complete, the balcony must be re-inspected to confirm it is now safe to use.

What Happens if the Property Owner Fails to Comply with the Regulations?

Failure to comply with the balcony inspection laws in California can result in severe consequences. Property owners who fail to meet these requirements may face penalties, including fines and legal action, if their negligence results in injury or death.

Additionally, if a property owner fails to comply with the inspection requirements, the local authorities may prohibit the use of the balcony until it is repaired or replaced.

In conclusion, balcony inspection laws in California aim to ensure that property owners take responsibility for the safety of their balconies. Regular inspections help identify any potential hazards, and timely repairs or modifications can prevent serious accidents.

If you are a tenant living in a balcony apartment, you should ensure that your landlord is complying with the balcony inspection laws. If you are a property owner, it is essential to comply with the inspection requirements to ensure the safety of your residents and avoid legal repercussions. In order to help clients achieve the compliance deadline and guarantee the security of their facilities, EEEAdvisor works to educate clients on these standards and the rules set in SB721 and SB326. California-based engineering inspections business EEEadvisor Engineering was co-founded by Omid Ghanadiof. According to Senate Bills 721 and 326, EEEadvisor Engineers helps homeowners associations (HOAs) and landlords comply with state rules for balcony inspections. Contact with us at (805) 312-8513 or for further details.


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