Florida Administrative Code (FAC) 61C-1.002 requires an inspection 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.Who is required to have the HR7020 inspection? 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. Who is not required to have the HR7020 inspection? 1. Dormitories owned by a public or private school, college or university. 2. Any facility operated by the Agency for Health Care Administration or the Department of Children and Families. 3. Any facility renting less than four units unless the facility is a transient lodging facility. 4. 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. 5. Migrant labor camp or migrant housing operated by the Department of Health. 6. A non-profit facility providing housing to patients, caregivers and patient families. 7. Any apartment building operated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Who can provide the inspection? 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.” What is included in this inspection? 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. What if I want a more detailed report? Many property owners are wise to 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 which assigns a repair level/action level which assists the property owner in allocating resources. What if I fail the inspection? The Inspector will not sign or attest to components which are determined to be unsafe or which 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. What type of issues or defects are typically found?We note issues as Maintenance or Structural. Common maintenance issues would include slightly loose fasteners, minor corrosion or peeling paint, mildew or slightly cupped deck boards. Structural issues would include wood rot, missing fasteners, damaged wall attachments, missing or improperly installed ledger boards/joists, corroded decking or extreme deferred maintenance. Typically, we will make recommendations for improved maintenance on those facilities which have minor and typical maintenance issues to improve prior to the next scheduled inspection. For those facilities which have structural issues or who 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. How much will the inspection cost? Inspection fees are contingent upon the size of the property and the number of units requiring inspection.
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