Understanding California's balcony laws is essential if you own rental property there in order to protect your tenants' safety and stay out of legal trouble. Because to the recent spate of balcony collapses in California, new law establishing standards for inspections and repairs was passed.
What you should know about California's balcony laws is as follows:
California law requires that all balconies, decks, and other outdoor structures be inspected at least once every nine years. These inspections must be performed by a licensed inspector, and the results must be reported to the building owner and any tenants or homeowners' associations.
In addition, if any damage or visible signs of deterioration are found during an inspection, the balcony must be inspected again within six months to ensure it has been repaired properly.
If an inspection finds any issues with a balcony, the property owner must take prompt action to repair or replace the balcony. Repairs must be made in accordance with building codes and industry standards, and any necessary permits must be obtained before work begins.
If the damage to the balcony is severe enough, the entire balcony may need to be removed and replaced. In some cases, this can be costly and disruptive, so it's important to stay on top of regular inspections and maintenance to avoid more extensive repairs.
If a balcony collapses and causes injury or death, property owners can face significant legal and financial consequences. In addition to potential lawsuits, property owners may also face fines or penalties from government agencies if they fail to comply with balcony inspection and repair regulations.
To protect themselves from liability issues, property owners should ensure that their balconies are regularly inspected and repaired as needed. They should also maintain accurate records of inspections and repairs to demonstrate compliance with the law.
In addition to the above-mentioned requirements, California's balcony regulations also require that property owners ensure their balconies meet specific structural standards. For example, the maximum allowable vertical deflection for a balcony must not exceed 1/60th of the length of the unsupported span. The building code also mandates that balconies have adequate drainage to prevent water from pooling and causing damage.
Property owners should also be aware that the regulations apply to both residential and commercial buildings, and include multi-unit buildings such as apartment complexes and condominiums. Failure to comply with the regulations can result in fines, legal action, and potential harm to tenants and their guests.
In light of recent balcony collapses in California, the state has placed an even greater emphasis on the importance of regular inspections and maintenance. Property owners should ensure that they work with licensed and qualified inspectors who are familiar with California's balcony regulations and can accurately identify and report any issues.
In conclusion, as a property owner in California, it's crucial to stay informed about the state's balcony regulations and take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of your tenants. Regular inspections, repairs, and compliance with building codes and industry standards can help prevent serious safety hazards and avoid costly legal consequences. By prioritizing balcony safety, property owners can help protect their tenants and their investment in their property.
EEEAdvisor works to educate clients on these standards and the regulations outlined in SB721 and SB326 in order to assist customers in meeting the compliance deadline and ensure the security of their facilities. Omid Ghanadiof is a co-founder of the engineering inspections company EEEadvisor Engineering, based in California. EEEadvisor Engineers assists homeowners associations (HOAs) and landlords in adhering to state regulations for balcony inspections, as per Senate Bills 721 and 326. For further information, get in touch with us at (805) 312-8513 or http://info@EEEadvisor.com.