Senate Bill No. 326, also called Chapter 207, is an important law that makes changes to the Civil Code relating to civil law.
It focuses on communities where people share common areas and responsibilities, like condominium projects.
The goal of the bill is to make these places safer and ensure that necessary inspections are done. It also gives associations the power to take legal action when needed.
In this article, we will explain the key points of Senate Bill No. 326, so you can understand how it affects common interest developments and the people who live there.
What does Senate Bill No. 326 say?
Under Senate Bill No. 326, in a condominium project, the association is required to conduct a visual inspection of exterior elevated elements (such as decks, balconies, and stairways) to ensure they are safe and in compliance with standards.
The inspection must be carried out by a licensed professional, and a report with information about the condition of these elements must be provided to the association and the local code enforcement agency.
If any element poses an immediate safety threat, the association must take preventive measures and restrict access until repairs are made and approved.
The law also grants associations the authority to initiate legal actions against the developers or builders of common interest developments, without restrictions imposed by the governing documents. The association must inform its members about the potential impacts and hold a meeting to discuss the issues before filing a civil action. However, if there is a risk of the statute of limitations expiring, the notice can be given within 30 days after filing the action.
The law sets a timeframe for inspections to be conducted, and it applies to buildings with three or more multifamily dwelling units. It also allows associations to establish additional requirements through their own rules or bylaws. Local governments and enforcement agencies have the power to impose stricter rules if they choose to do so.
Overall, the law aims to ensure the safety and proper maintenance of common interest developments, and it provides associations with the necessary authority to address issues and take legal action when necessary.
How to keep maintenance costs low
To keep balcony and deck maintenance costs low, there are several steps you can take to prevent your balcony from leaking:
- Regular Cleaning: Regularly clean your balcony or deck to remove dirt, debris, and any potential hazards like the overflow of your aluminum windows and drains. This prevents the buildup of dirt and grime that prevents sufficient drainage that can lead to costly repairs down the line.
- Proper Drainage: Ensure that your balcony or deck has proper drainage systems in place to prevent water from pooling. Standing water can cause damage to the structure over time, so it’s important to keep the area dry and well-drained. Always make sure that pots have sufficient drainage below to allow to water to get away but installing feet below.
- Regular Inspections: Conduct routine inspections to identify any signs of wear and tear, such as loose boards, cracks, or rusted fasteners. Catching these issues early can prevent them from escalating into more significant and expensive problems.
- Prompt Repairs: If you notice any damage or issues during inspections, address them promptly. Ignoring or delaying repairs can lead to more extensive damage and higher costs in the long run.
- Proper Use: Encourage responsible use of the balcony or deck among residents or occupants. Discourage activities that could potentially cause damage, such as excessive weight, improper installation of fixtures, or misuse of the space.
- Regular Maintenance: Keep up with regular maintenance tasks, such as re-staining or repainting, tightening loose screws or bolts, and replacing worn-out components. These small maintenance tasks can extend the lifespan of your balcony or deck and prevent major repairs.
What can I do, if my balcony is leaking?
- Remove existing sealant and reapply with a high-quality polyurethane.
- Replace missing grout. Missing grout is evidence of movement, so if you don’t apply a membrane over the top it will crack and movement will remove it again.
- Waterproof: Apply a clear waterproofing treatment to the top of the tiles on your balcony or deck to protect it from moisture damage. This helps prevent rot, warping, and other issues that can arise from exposure to water.
Professional Help: When necessary, consult with professionals such an Accredited Installer for Remedial Waterproofing (link) contractors, architects, or engineers who specialize in balcony and deck maintenance. They can provide expert advice, conduct thorough inspections, and perform repairs or renovations if needed.
By following these tips, you can help keep balcony and deck maintenance costs manageable while ensuring the longevity and safety of these structures.
Does Senate Bill No. 326 include an inspection deadline?
Yes, Senate Bill No. 326 includes an inspection deadline. According to the bill, the first inspection of the exterior elevated elements in a condominium project must be completed by January 1, 2025.
After that, subsequent inspections should take place every nine years.
What is the difference between senate Bill No 326 and Senate Bill 721?
Bill 721 deals with the responsibilities of landlords, while Bill 326 addresses community projects.