What is SB 721?

California’s Balcony Inspection Law, Senate Bill 721, passed in 2019. Due to pandemic-related challenges, several multifamily rental property owners couldn’t meet the law’s requirements in 2020 or 2021. Lately, portfolio owners and property managers have shown renewed interest in conducting mandatory balcony inspections and inspecting other elevated exterior elements.

What is SB 721?

Understanding the Deadlines

The initial deadline for property balcony and elevated element inspections is January 1, 2025, with a follow-up inspection mandated within six years. If inspections are done before January 1, 2025, you won’t need to conduct another until January 1, 2031.

Understanding how repairs work

Senate Bill 721 initially stopped inspectors from doing repair work. Senate Bill 607, passed in September 2021, removes this restriction, allowing contractors to handle both inspections and repairs. But property owners should be cautious when hiring a single entity for both tasks to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

When inspectors focus solely on inspections, they don’t benefit from repair work, making their findings more impartial compared to contractors who do both. Thus, it’s wise for building owners and managers to hire two separate entities for inspections and repairs.

Get a head start

The current supply chain delays and industry talent shortages have taught us that early planning is key to meeting deadlines. This applies to balcony and elevated exterior element inspections and repairs too. According to the law, property owners are responsible for inspection compliance, starting when they hire a qualified inspector. The inspector follows guidelines to assess the property and determine outcomes based on safety.

The inspection report offers four possible scenarios, leading to different required actions. Buildings either pass or need repairs. Once a building passes, the owner gets a final report. All reports must be kept for two inspection cycles to complete compliance. Since inspection dates are set, owners and managers can budget and look for competitive prices early.

Balconies and elevated elements can fail, regardless of a building’s age. Being proactive can save money and lives. It’s better to start early than wait and pay more for inspections.