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Title: Navigating Safety: Understanding California’s Balcony Law (SB 721) and the Imperative of Proper Maintenance


California’s SB 721, also known as the Balcony Law, has ushered in a new era of accountability for property owners and managers of multi-unit residential buildings. This legislation, enacted to prevent tragic accidents caused by structural failures of elevated exterior elements (EEEs) like balconies and decks, emphasizes the critical need for proper maintenance and waterproofing. In this article, we will explore the importance of adhering to SB 721, the definition of EEEs, and the inherent dangers and safety concerns associated with dry rot and water damage to these outdoor structures.

Understanding SB 721:

SB 721, signed into law in 2018, mandates regular inspections of EEEs in apartment buildings with three or more units. The primary goal is to identify and rectify potential safety hazards stemming from structural issues. Compliance with this law is not just a legal obligation but a moral imperative to ensure the safety and well-being of residents.

Elevated Exterior Elements (EEEs) Defined:

EEEs encompass various structures, including balconies, decks, stairways, and other elevated elements. These areas are prone to wear and tear due to exposure to the elements, making them susceptible to damage over time. Proper maintenance and waterproofing become crucial to mitigate risks associated with these structures.

Dangers of Dry Rot and Water Damage:

Dry rot and water damage are silent threats that can compromise the structural integrity of EEEs. Dry rot, a form of wood decay caused by fungi, weakens the material, making it susceptible to crumbling and cracking. Water damage exacerbates the problem, leading to rot, mold, and potential structural failure. These issues are particularly concerning for balconies and decks, as they can go unnoticed until a catastrophic event occurs.

The Importance of Maintenance and Waterproofing:

Regular inspections, repairs, and waterproofing treatments are essential for preventing dry rot and water damage. Proper maintenance not only ensures compliance with SB 721 but also safeguards residents from potential accidents. Waterproofing solutions act as a protective barrier, extending the life of EEEs and preventing moisture-related issues.


California’s Balcony Law (SB 721) has ushered in a crucial era of accountability, emphasizing the need for property owners and managers to prioritize the safety of residents. Understanding the dangers posed by dry rot and water damage to elevated exterior elements highlights the significance of proper maintenance and waterproofing. By adhering to SB 721 and implementing proactive measures, property owners can create a secure living environment, protecting both their legal interests and the well-being of those who call these multi-unit buildings home.