Balcony Inspection Requirements

What is SB 721 and SB 326 ?

On August 30, 2019, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill No. 326 (S.B. 326) into law, adding two new statutes to the Davis-Stirling Act. Civil Code section 5551 adds a requirement for associations to perform inspections of balconies and other exterior structural elements that the association has an obligation to maintain.

The balcony inspection portion of this bill will look familiar to many, as it resembles the bill passed one year ago (S.B. 721).
This bill requires that all multi-family residential buildings with three or more dwelling units in California that have “Exterior Elevated Elements” require a mandatory inspection every six years.

Any recommended minor repairs have to be done within 120 days. Any emergency repairs must be done immediately and if an area is considered dangerous then immediate barriers must be installed to prevent access.

What Are Exterior Elevated Elements?

SB721 and SB326 define Exterior Elevated Elements as – “the following types of structures, including their supports and railings: balconies, decks, porches, stairways, walkways, associated waterproofing systems and entry structures that extend beyond the exterior walls of the building and which have a walking surface that is elevated more than six feet above ground level, are designed for human occupancy or use, and relay in whole or in substantial part on wood or wood-based product for structural support of stability of the exterior elevated elements.”

This law now requires apartment building owners to have this inspection done by a qualified professional. These inspections must be completed by Jan 1, 2025, and then redone every six years for SB 721 and nine years for SB 326 thereafter.

Deadline for Deck and Balcony Inspection Approaching Soon
As of January 1, 2019, a new senate bill, SB 721, commonly referred to as the “deck and balcony inspection” bill, went into effect. The deadline for these deck and balcony inspections is rapidly approaching. All inspections must be completed on or before January 1, 2025, and then redone every six years.