A Complete Guide to DBPR HR-7020 Certification In Florida

If you own or operate a public lodging establishment in Florida that rents out units or rooms, you’ve likely heard about the requirement for DBPR HR-7020 certification.

But what exactly is it, and why is it so important?

Let’s dive into this topic and explore everything you need to know about this crucial and mandatory certification.

What is DBPR HR-7020 Certification?

The DBPR HR-7020 certification, also known as the balcony, deck, and railing inspection, is a mandatory requirement for certain public lodging establishments in Florida.

The inspection is mandated by the Florida Administrative Code (FAC) 61C-1.002. The code states that balconies, decks, and railings in these establishments must be inspected every three years.

Why is this certification important?

Now, you might be wondering, “Why is this inspection and certification so important?”

Well, it’s all about ensuring the safety of your guests and protecting your establishment from potential liabilities.

Balconies, decks, and railings are high-risk areas that can pose serious hazards if not properly maintained.

Imagine the consequences of a railing giving way or a balcony collapsing. Not only could it lead to devastating injuries or even fatalities, but it could also result in costly lawsuits and damage to your establishment’s reputation.

Who Needs a DBPR HR-7020 Certification?

Not every lodging establishment in Florida is required to obtain HR-7020 certification. The regulation applies to:

1. Public lodging establishments that rent units or rooms for less than 30 days (transient lodging).

2. Public lodging establishments that rent units or rooms for at least 30 days (non-transient lodging).

However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For instance, dormitories owned by schools, colleges, or universities, facilities operated by specific state agencies, and certain non-profit organizations providing housing to patients and their families are exempt from this requirement.

It’s important to note that even if your establishment falls under one of these exceptions, it’s still a good idea to have regular inspections conducted to ensure the safety of your guests and protect yourself from potential liabilities.

Who Can Conduct the Inspection?

Now that we’ve established who needs HR-7020 certification, let’s talk about who can actually conduct the inspection.

According to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), the inspector must be “competent to conduct such inspections.”

So, what does “competent” mean in this context? The DBPR recognizes the following professionals as competent to perform HR-7020 inspections:

1. Architects

2. Engineers

3. State-licensed general contractors

Other license classifications under the DBPR do not meet the definition of “competent person” for this purpose.

It’s important to choose a qualified and experienced inspector who can thoroughly evaluate the condition of your balconies, decks, and railings. A shoddy inspection could result in missed issues, putting your guests and your establishment at risk.

What Does the Inspection Involve?

During the HR-7020 inspection, the inspector will visually examine various components of your balconies, decks, and railings, including:

1. Decking

2. Wall attachments

3. Ledger boards

4. Railings

5. All fasteners

The inspector will also inspect railings on all stairwells within the scope of the inspection.

After the inspection, the inspector will provide a report detailing the total number of units inspected, the total number of deficiencies found, and a general description of the types of deficiencies noted.

It’s important to note that the inspector is not required to provide a detailed report unless requested by the property owner. Many owners choose to request a more comprehensive report, often referred to as a “Level II inspection,” which provides a detailed assessment of each location and assigns repair levels or action levels to assist the owner in allocating resources effectively.

What Happens If You Fail the Inspection?

Failing the DBPR HR-7020 inspection is no laughing matter. If the inspector determines that certain components are unsafe or present a hazard to the public, they will not sign or attest to those components on the inspection report.

If the owner fails to address these issues and bring the establishment up to the required safety standards, the facility could potentially be closed down by the DBPR. This is a severe consequence that no establishment wants to face, as it could result in significant financial losses and damage to the business’s reputation.

Common Deficiencies and Issues Found

During DBPR HR-7020 inspections, inspectors typically categorize deficiencies as either maintenance issues or structural issues.

Maintenance issues are generally less severe and can include:

1. Slightly loose fasteners

2. Minor corrosion or peeling paint

3. Mildew growth

4. Slightly cupped deck boards

Structural issues, on the other hand, are more serious and can include:

1. Wood rot

2. Missing fasteners

3. Damaged wall attachments

4. Missing or improperly installed ledger boards or joists

5. Corroded decking

6. Extreme deferred maintenance

If your establishment is found to have minor maintenance issues, the inspector will likely provide recommendations for improved maintenance practices to address these issues before the next scheduled inspection.

However, if the inspector identifies structural issues or finds that your establishment has been operating without regard for guest safety, they will not approve the inspection. In these cases, the inspector may offer guidance and assistance in arranging for site improvements to bring your establishment up to code.

The Cost of DBPR HR-7020 Certification

Finally, let’s address the cost of obtaining HR-7020 certification. Inspection fees can vary depending on the size of your property and the number of units that require inspection.

While the cost may seem like an unnecessary expense, it’s important to remember that the safety of your guests should be the top priority. Failing to comply with HR-7020 certification requirements could result in costly lawsuits, fines, and even the closure of your establishment if serious issues are left unaddressed.

Investing in regular inspections and maintenance is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes with knowing your guests are safe and your establishment is compliant with state regulations.


The HR-7020 certification, also known as the balcony, deck, and railing inspection, is a crucial requirement for public lodging establishments in Florida. By ensuring that your balconies, decks, and railings are inspected every three years by a competent professional, you can protect your guests, your business, and your reputation.

Remember, safety should always be the top priority in the hospitality industry. By staying informed and proactive about HR-7020 certification, you can create a safe and welcoming environment for your guests while avoiding potential liabilities and costly consequences.

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