Florida Administrative Code (FAC) 61C-1.002
This code requires aninspection of balconies, decks, and railings on public lodging establishments every three years. As usual with government statutes, the definitions of who and what can be confusing. This article will attempt to clarify the requirements of who is required to have the state inspection and what is required to be inspected.
Basically, any person or business who operates a “public lodging establishment” in which units/rooms are rented for periods of less than 30 days (transient lodging) and any person or business in which units/rooms are rented for periods of at least 30 days (non-transient). Answer: Any facility which rents apartments/rooms to the public.
The following properties and/or facilities are not required to have the HR7020 inspection completed:
- Dormitories owned by a public or private school, college, or university.
- Any facility operated by the Agency for Health Care Administration or the Department of Children and Families.
- Any condominium facility where less than four units are regularly advertised for rental. Note: This would not exclude the condo owner from the inspection – only the Association, provided no more than four units are available for rent.
- Migrant labor camp or migrant housing operated by the Department of Health.
- Non-profit facilities providing housing to patients, caregivers, and patient families.
- Any apartment building operated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) requires an inspector “who is competent to conduct such inspections.” Competent structural inspectors under DBPR license categories would include an architect, engineer, or state licensed general contractor. No other license classification under the DBPR meets the definition of “competent person.”
The inspector will visually inspect the balconies to include decking, wall attachments, ledger boards, railings, and all fasteners. Further, railings on all stairwells will be inspected. The inspector will note the total number of units inspected and note the total number of deficiencies. The inspector will provide a general description of the type of deficiencies noted, and it is the responsibility of the owner to make the repairs and have the inspector re-inspect the property. Often, we find deferred maintenance issues are prevalent throughout the property.
Many wise property owners request a detailed inspection report, which provides more detail than that required by the basic HR7020 form. We offer a Level II inspection which provides a detailed assessment of each location and assigns a repair level/action level that assists the property owner in allocating resources.
The inspector will not sign or attest to components that are determined to be unsafe or that present a hazard to the public. By statute, the facility could be closed if the owner fails to meet the standards for a safe facility.
We note issues as maintenance or structural. Common maintenance issues include slightly loose fasteners, minor corrosion, peeling paint, mildew, or slightly cupped deck boards. Structural issues include wood rot, missing fasteners, damaged wall attachments, missing or improperly installed ledger boards/joists, corroded decking, or extreme deferred maintenance. For facilities that have minor and common maintenance issues, we typically recommend that maintenance improvements are completed prior to the next scheduled inspection. For facilities with structural issues or that operate without regard for the protection of guests, we will not approve the inspection. We offer guidance and assistance to owners who need our level of expertise in arranging for site improvements.
Inspection fees are contingent upon the size of the property and the number of units requiring inspection.