What Is SB326?
As a property manager, you’re constantly juggling multiple tasks to keep your residents happy, from ensuring smooth move-ins and move-outs, managing facilities and amenities, and handling any resident concerns, plus meeting with prospective residents, providing tours, and closing leases. It’s a lot to keep up with, and you may struggle to find the time and energy to manage it all—besides following local and state regulations.
You may have heard about the new SB326 and SB721 law that was recently passed in the state of California. But what is SB326 and how does it affect your property? What does it entail, and how long do you have to comply? Keep reading to get answers to all your questions.
Why Was SB326 Passed?
SB326 was passed in response to a terrible tragedy that claimed the lives of 6 students and injured seven others. The incident occurred when the balcony at a Berkeley apartment building collapsed in June 2015. These students had complained about the growth of mushrooms on their balcony, but were ignored by the management company. Additionally, contractors allegedly cut corners to save costs—which ultimately cost them millions of dollars in settlements.
As a result of this tragedy, legislators took concern with ensuring the safety of elevated balconies, decks, and walkways in California multi-unit residential properties. Two years later in 2018, SB721 was passed by Governor Brown to obligate property management associations to take preventative action.
What Does SB326 Include?
The law behind SB326 began with the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act. This act governs the operation of “common interest developments” such as condominiums, apartments, or retirement communities.
Senate Bill No. 326 (SB326) was passed on August 30, 2019 by Governor Newsom and went into effect January 1, 2020. It made two additions to the Davis-Stirling Act, including a requirement for rental properties to inspect structures on their property they are in charge of maintaining, such as balconies. It acts in the best interest of tenants and their safety, which aligns with property managers’ desire to curate a safe and attractive environment for current and future residents.
SB326 closely follows SB721, which was passed one year prior and covered apartments and other multi-family dwellings. It expands SB721’s impact to include not only 2.8 million apartment units in California, but over 52,000 common interest developments that comprise an additional 6 million units. Together, they ensure the safety of over a quarter of California’s total housing.
Who Is Affected by SB326?
All associations that have buildings with three or more multi-family units in the state of California, including apartments and condos, are required to comply with SB326 and SB721.
What Needs to Be Inspected?
Under SB326, any “exterior elevated elements” that fall under the association’s responsibility to maintain must be inspected. This may include:
All of these structures would be made in whole or part from wood-based materials, bear weight, and be 6 feet off the ground or higher. It also includes “associated waterproofing systems” such as sealants, flashings, membranes, and coatings that protect these structures from exposure to water.
Who Can Inspect the Property?
Only a licensed structural engineer or architect can inspect your property. If your property is particularly large, you may also need to hire a statistician to certify that the “random and statistically significant sample” inspected had a margin of error of 5% or less.
When Is the Deadline?
The deadline for compliance with SB326 is December 31, 2024. That gives you less than three years to find an SB326 engineer who can inspect your property, evaluate any damage, and create a complete SB326 report that will give you detailed information on what you need to do to get your property ready for compliance.
Once a certified SB326 engineer inspects your property without any issues, you will not need another inspection for nine years. Your first inspection must take place before December 31, 2024.
Now that you know what SB326 is, don’t wait to get started with compliance. When you’re busy constantly providing outstanding service to residents, you need someone who can come in and do an expert, thorough job with minimal supervision required.
SoCal Structural makes it easy to call on an experienced SB326 engineer to inspect your property and ensure absolute compliance. Set up a free consultation with us today and let us take care of everything so you can get back to what you do best.