Unfortunately, there’s no lack of reports about tragic accidents on balconies and terraces: railing buckling, porches collapsing, and other tragedies that could have easily been avoided with property inspections and maintenance.
This is why it’s so important, if you own and rent out a property with a balcony or terrace, to always focus on proper upkeep. But besides that, you need to know how to spot a problem and have it diagnosed and fixed as soon as possible.
Rental Property Balcony and Terrace Safety
Even if these structures are build well and installed the right way, they still need to be maintained to stay safe. It’s easy for this not to become the top priority for homeowners and their homeowners association boards. But you really should turn to the professionals for the safety of those on your property—because you might not know exactly how to notice a safety hazard.
That being said, regularly checking the structures helps you notice any changes that could become problems. So, inspect balconies for rust, cracks, discoloration, salt stains, or flaked, broken, or pitted concrete. If you see any of these, see professional help. And analyze the whole structure, including the floor and the roof, poles, and railings.
Getting Professional Help
Any changes in color or marks on your balcony are reasons to get things checked out. Just like you’d want to get a doctor check up for anything suspicious on your body, the same goes for balcony maintenance. It’s recommended you hire a professional inspector to look more closely and track the structure’s status by doing a visual inspection and documentation.
Consult Your HOA Board
Most HOA managers are aware of code inspection requirements, but you might be less familiar with the schedule and times of inspection. If you think your balcony or porch might be due for a look, bring it to the attention of the association’s board or manager right away. They will be able to call in the right experts, like structural engineers, for inspection. What might look like just a need for patching of concrete could be bigger structure issues.
Because of the high risk for visitors and tenants, balcony and porch safety should never be ignored. You could face serious problems, including fines, or worse, for not property repairing the structures. Don’t let this be a preventable rental property disaster. Be sure to regularly check your balcony and report any warning signs as soon as possible.