By PR Chair

In 2017 and 2018, Community Association Institute’s California Legislative Action Committee (CAI-CLAC) worked hard to remove community associations from a bill designed to make apartment balconies and other raised structures safer. Recognizing that community associations are not like apartment buildings, the author of the bill agreed to delete provisions related to associations. As enacted, the bill, authored by Sen. Jerry Hill of San Mateo, requires apartment owners to inspect wooden balconies, landings, and other similar structures every six years, including invasive testing to visualize structural elements. It also requires apartment owners to make repairs.

Community associations are different from apartment buildings – associations are managed by the people who own and live in them, through boards elected by owners. Yet associations do face safety issues. Recognizing these issues, CAI-CLAC worked with Sen. Hill to craft legislation that would protect the safety of elevated elements and give association boards and managers practical tools to do so.

Senate Bill 326 would require associations to inspect elevated elements every nine years, so the inspections could coincide with reserve study inspections. Associations would be required to conduct visual inspections every nine years, using a structural engineer or architect, through the least intrusive method necessary. The bill would not compel associations to perform repairs, but would require that they prevent people from walking on structures that are not safe. It also requires that inspectors report immediate safety concerns to local enforcement authorities.

The bill would provide another important tool to associations. Now, some associations’ CC&Rs take away the authority of association boards to pursue claims for defective construction. Senate Bill 326 restores that right to boards, even if the CC&Rs add other preconditions to pursuing such claims. This provision allows associations to pursue those responsible for unsafe conditions in original construction.

CAI-CLAC supports Senate Bill 326 as a common-sense way to protect the safety of association residents and to allow associations the tools to do so.

You can learn more about SB 326 on our Legislative Session Hot Bills page. We continue to provide updates on pending legislation, so continue to check back. As the legislative session heats up, we will prepare draft letters and send out a call-to-action to contact your representative and other key legislators.

For real-time updates, follow us on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages. You can also sign up for our weekly eBlasts here.