Understanding California's Balcony Inspection Laws: Key Requirements and Deadlines for Multifamily and HOA Properties

California's Balcony Inspection Laws

In September 2018, Governor Jerry Brown approved California Senate Bill No. 721 (SB 721), which mandates the inspection and repair of balconies, decks, and stairs primarily supported by wood in multifamily residential buildings with three or more units. Known as the "deck and balcony inspection" bill, it became effective on January 1, 2019. Additionally, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill No. 326 (SB 326) into law on August 30, 2019, which places similar requirements on condominiums and HOA-controlled properties. Inspections under these laws are required to be completed by January 1, 2025.

Who and What Are Affected?

SB 721 applies to all multifamily/apartment buildings with three or more units, requiring compliance for "exterior elevated elements" predominantly supported by wood. While the law sets minimum inspection and repair standards, local building departments may impose stricter requirements.

SB 326 follows many of the same requirements as SB 721 but applies its standards to condominiums and housing controlled by HOAs.

Definition of "Exterior Elevated Elements"

"Exterior elevated element" refers to structures, including their supports and railings, such as balconies, decks, porches, stairways, walkways, and entry structures that:

  • Extend beyond the exterior walls of the building
  • Have a walking surface elevated more than six feet above ground level
  • Are designed for human occupancy or use
  • Rely in whole or in substantial part on wood or wood-based products for structural support stability

Are you SB 721 and SB 326 Complaintant? 

Our team is here to assist you with the inspection process and answer any questions regarding the upcoming balcony inspection deadline. Don't hesitate to contact us—we look forward to hearing from you!

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