Property Management LA
A SIMPLE GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING THE NEW SMOKE DETECTOR LAWS
I’ve noticed a lot of confusion regarding the new smoke detector rules that took effect July 1st, 2015. The State of California, as well as the Apartment Owners Association, have both already issued additional documentation to clarify their initial statements regarding these changes. What follows is a bullet point synopsis of the changes. The most important take-away: make sure you’re in compliance. Ignoring these guidelines can bring a landlord to their knees with regards to liability in case of fire.
1. Detectors must be approved by the State Fire Marshall, and only those containing the 3 below elements comply.
(1) Display the date of its manufacture.
(2) Contain a place to display the date of its installation.
(3) Have a built-in hush feature.
Is this difficult? No! If you’re buying at a reputable store, they will only carry approved devices. So #1 is easy. (Don’t buy online from China – it’s like buying in an alley out of someone’s trunk!)
2. Simply put, start swapping out all your detectors so that by January 1, 2020, you have a smoke detector with a 10-year tamper-proof battery installed in each bedroom as well as the hallway outside the bedroom.
Carbon monoxide detectors are not subject to the ten year battery requirement. Not sure about needing it in every bedroom and hallway? Google California’s Building Code §310.9 . It’s the law!
3. Test and maintain your alarms.
You must not allow a tenant to take possession of a unit until you have tested the alarm. No problem. As part of your standard move-in checklist & procedures, test the alarm in front of the tenant, and have them sign off that it works. Press the button, pierce the eardrum, and voila. You’re done.
4. Take a picture of the installation date, after writing it with a sharpie, on the blank place on the exterior of the alarm that says “Installation date.”
Yep, the new ones have this space so you can write in the date you put up the alarm, and you need to fill it out. Do this for every alarm in the unit, and you’re definitely being a shrewd landlord. Top notch management companies will do this for you, and provide you with pictures of all alarms. Want to shrink your liability exposure? Follow this advice, and label every picture the address of the unit.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive analysis on smoke detector compliance. I’m not a lawyer. But here’s a link to someone who is, and you can see his detailed analysis. Click on this link, or copy it into a new browser bar.
Article written by David Crown.
To reach David direct, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org