Requiring Counties conduct Balcony Inspections

H.4784 would mandate that all counties and municipalities perform an inspection every five years on balconies in their jurisdiction that are part of a variety residential properties including: hotels, apartments, and assisted living facilities. Use of a balcony that fails to meet International Building Code standards would be prohibited until actions are taken to fix the balcony.

Counties and municipalities would be required to report the results of their balcony inspections to the Building Codes Council on a daily basis. In turn the council would maintain a database containing the results of all the inspections. Both the Building Codes Council and counties and municipalities would be permitted to charge a fee for balcony inspections with the former’s fee being limited to $5 a balcony and no more than $100 per building.

H.4874 would be another unfunded mandate on counties. The General Assembly shouldn’t be imposing such mandates especially when it continues to attempt to shirk its legal financial obligations to local governments.

This bill would also impose an unnecessary new tax/fee on residential property holders. Property owners who attempt to attract renters or guests have every incentive to ensure their properties are safe for potential occupants. They stand to lose large sums through litigation if their unsafe property harms anyone, not to mention the potential harm to their reputation.

This bill will increase costs for local governments and property owners, its prospects for improving safety are for more questionable.

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