New law requires apartment balcony inspections

Local state Sen. Jerry Hill co-authored bill

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed a bill requiring inspections of apartment balconies, decks, outdoor stairs and elevated walkways in hopes of avoiding deaths from collapses like the one in Berkeley in 2015.

At a birthday party in June 2015, six young people died when a fifth-story balcony collapsed, according to the office of state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, who co-authored the bill, Senate Bill 721.

An investigation revealed the balcony had been poorly sealed and became infested with dry rot and the builder had a history of lawsuits related to construction defects, Hill's office said.

Now 15 percent of the load-bearing, exterior elements on apartment buildings and complexes with three or more units must be inspected every six years.

Elements that must be inspected include balconies, decks, porches, stairs, walkways and entryways.

Those elements must be inspected if they extend beyond the building's exterior walls and are six or more feet above the ground and get stability and support from wood or wood-based products.

State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D Berkeley, was the other author of the bill.

— Bay City News Service

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12 people like this
Posted by The Village Business Man
a resident of St. Francis Acres
on Sep 18, 2018 at 8:41 pm

I just hope the Village Business Man (You Know What) DOESN'T use his first amendment rhetoric and The Voice propaganda machine to turn this into a tenants' rights / greedy landlord issue, then close down the blog to find out who to target.

1 person likes this
Posted by former tenant in Berkeley
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 19, 2018 at 8:34 am

I hope The Business Man does have some of 'his own' economic perspectives posted here.
It is very nice that our own local State Senate legislative representative Jerry Hill, helped change this public policy. Building inspections, like commercial and school fire alarm and fire safety ones, are sometimes neglected. But they can be very important. Thank you Sen. Hill !

2 people like this
Posted by The Business Man
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Sep 19, 2018 at 8:59 am

The Business Man is a registered user.

OK I have 2 requests, and I have 2 observations:

First observation: Economically, it is far more cost effective to inspect and repair these structural problems because of the larger cost of liability regarding property or human injury when the structures fail. Especially if one is injured.

Second observation: Simple public safety. What occurred was an attempt by property owners to use purposeful ignorance to claim they had no knowledge of a problem in the courts. Most cases it fails. Thus is became a necessity to require reasonable up to date inspections to be performed to minimize that legal strategy.

In order to have an "inhabitable" rental unit, it must be SAFE. if anything, this is COMMON SENSE. Anyone arguing otherwise is simply choosing to do so.

Like this comment
Posted by MV Resident
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 19, 2018 at 10:39 pm

15% ? Hopefully the 15% that’s about to fall apart.

Trying to imagine how that works. “Well ma’am, I inspected 15% of the load bearing elements of the balcony. Just make sure nobody stands near the other 85% of the balcony. See you in 6 years.”

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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