SB 721, also known as “The Balcony Inspection Bill,” was signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown on September 17, 2018. The legislation was prompted by the fatal incident in 2015 where six UC Berkeley students lost their lives due to a balcony collapse at a downtown apartment complex. Owners of multi-family apartment buildings with three or more units are required to conduct their initial inspection by January 1, 2025. The law officially came into effect on January 1, 2019.

The significance of adhering to inspection deadlines

Adhering to SB721 is paramount for maintaining building safety and mitigating risks linked to structural issues. Property owners bear the responsibility of ensuring their properties meet the compliance standards specified in the legislation. Neglecting timely inspections and maintenance obligations can endanger occupants and subject property owners to legal ramifications.

Measures to Ensure Compliance Prior to the Deadline

In order to meet the SB721 balcony inspection deadline, property owners must proactively fulfill their maintenance responsibilities and uphold building safety standards. Here’s a comprehensive guide on achieving compliance:

What is the Balcony Inspection Bill?

SB 721 aims to enhance public safety concerning decks, balconies, and similar external elevated structural components in multi-family residential units. This is achieved through mandatory inspections conducted every six years. The inspections focus on assessing the structural integrity, flashings, and waterproofing of these elements in buildings with three or more units and two or more stories in height. The deadline for initial inspections is January 1, 2025. Inspections cover any external building element six feet above ground level, including walkways, balconies, decks, landings, stairways, and railings. For larger complexes, the law permits inspecting 15% of the respective elements as a representative sampling.

What to Expect


Goal Set


Balcony Mandate

It's crucial for property owners to grasp the specific requirements detailed in SB721 to ensure compliance. They need to understand the inspection regulations, safety standards, and maintenance obligations mandated by the law.

Kenny Sing

To prevent last-minute setbacks and ensure prompt compliance, property owners should arrange inspections well before the SB721 deadline. Scheduling inspections early provides sufficient time to rectify any structural issues and enact preventive maintenance measures.

Ishtiaq Parag

It's vital to enlist the expertise of certified inspectors to carry out comprehensive safety inspections. Inspectors must possess the required certifications and skills to accurately evaluate structural integrity and detect potential hazards.

John Teh


In summary, with the SB721 balcony inspection deadline approaching, property owners must prioritize building safety and compliance. Thorough safety inspections, maintenance fulfillment, and seeking assistance if needed are essential. Compliance is crucial for safeguarding multi-family housing units and ensuring the integrity of exterior elevated elements.

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