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Can a landlord in California legally ask their tenants not to put planters on their balcony?

Under California Civil Code section 1941.5, landlords are required to maintain their rental properties in a habitable condition, which includes providing safe and sanitary conditions for the occupants. This may include ensuring that balconies and other outdoor spaces are structurally sound and can support the weight of any items placed on them.

Additionally, California Civil Code section 1954 states that landlords are generally not allowed to interfere with a tenant's right to use their rental property, including outdoor spaces such as balconies, patios, or yards, unless there is a valid reason to do so.

However, if the lease agreement specifically prohibits the use of balconies for planting, or if the building has rules and regulations that prohibit placing planters on balconies, then the landlord may have the right to enforce these restrictions.

One reason a landlord may request that tenants refrain from placing planters on their balcony in California is due to SB712. This bill, which was signed into law in 2019, requires landlords to ensure that any building exterior, including balconies and other elevated structures, meet specific safety standards.

Specifically, SB 712 requires landlords to ensure that balconies and other elevated structures have an appropriate slope to allow for proper drainage and are constructed with materials that are resistant to decay, corrosion, and other forms of damage. Additionally, landlords must ensure that balconies and other elevated structures are designed to support the weight of any objects placed on them, including potted plants and planters.

If a landlord is concerned that the weight of planters could compromise the structural integrity of a balcony, they may request that tenants refrain from placing planters on their balcony to ensure compliance with SB 712. However, it is essential to note that the bill does not explicitly prohibit using planters on balconies or other elevated structures, and landlords must have a valid reason for requesting that tenants refrain from using planters.

Tenants who are unsure whether their landlord's request is valid or in compliance with SB 712 may wish to consult with a legal professional or tenant advocacy group for guidance. Ultimately, it is important for both landlords and tenants to prioritize safety when using balconies and other elevated structures and to work together to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

EEEAdvisor is working to inform clients about these definitions and the regulations outlined in Senate Bill 721and Senate Bill 326, helping them to comply with the deadline and ensure the safety of their buildings.



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