CALIFORNIA LANDLORDS – Chapter 9, Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

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Do I need a Carbon Monoxide Detector ?

Do I need a Carbon Monoxide Detector ?
Disclaimer

This article is intended to be a general discussion only, and should not be considered legal or real estate advice. Your use of it does not create either an attorney-client or broker-client relationship. Any liability that might arise from your use or reliance on this article, or any of its links, is expressly disclaimed. This blog is not legal, real estate, loan, accounting or tax advice, and is not to be acted on as such, it was outdated the moment it was written, and is subject to change without notice. If you are dealing with a potential problem with your investment property you are advised to retain the appropriate licensed professional. This article is not meant to apply to a rent controlled area in which special rules may apply.

INTRODUCTION

As you read this article keep in mind that it was written for the owners of property located in the State of California. This is critically important because state statutes, case law, and public policies can vary widely from state to state.  In the case of Building Codes and/or Building Standards the requirements can sometimes change from City to City.

If you are an absentee owner who has decided to manage your own property it’s best you thoroughly familiarize yourself with the territory. This serialized blog is an attempt to identify at least some of the potentially serious issues faced by an inexperienced owner.

SMOKE DETECTORS

 

Required Installation

For some time in California, the Building Code (section 310) and the Health and Safety Code (section 13113.7) have required that smoke detectors be installed in both new and existing multi-family and single-family dwellings.

You should note that the California Building Code is actually part 2.5 of the California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 24, also known as the California Building Standards Code which is actually a compilation of three types of building information from three different sources.

These provisions even include within their ambit hotels, apartment complexes, duplexes, condominiums, time-share units and lodging houses.

Types Of Detectors

Not only has California required the presence of smoke detectors it has also specified the type of detector. For example, the detectors may use either photoionization or photoelectric technology and must be approved by the state fire marshal. Detectors installed in new construction must be both hard-wired into the structure’s electrical system, and capable of running on a back-up battery system should there be a power failure. Smoke detectors installed in existing structures may be powered by battery alone. All detectors must be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Detector Placement

The California Building Standards Codes have required the presence of a smoke detector in each bedroom. Smoke detectors are also required in a central location outside of bedrooms, on each floor of the dwelling.

The code additionally requires one smoke detector for each floor of a single-family dwelling where no sleeping quarters are located.. In addition, a smoke detector is required in all hallways adjacent to sleeping quarters.

Smoke detectors in enclosed stairways providing access to multiple dwellings are also required. It is important to note that the device manufacturer will most likely have very specific instructions regarding the placement on a given ceiling. For example, the proximity of the detector to the wall or the position relative to a sloped ceiling’s high point may be important factors.

CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS

Given California’s history with smoke detectors it should come as no surprise that in mid 2010 the Governor signed California Senate Bill 183 (The Carbon Monoxide Poison Prevention Act of 2010) into law. This law applies to dwellings intended for human occupancy which have a fossil fuel burning appliance, fireplace, or an attached garage.

The effective dates on the are January 1, 2011 for single-family dwellings, July 1, 2011 for existing rental units, and January 1, 2013 for apartment units.

SB 183 will complement the existing smoke detector laws.

The law requires that the detectors produce a “distinct audible alarm” and will allow the carbon monoxide detector to be combined with a smoke detector so long as it an alarm or voice warning which clearly differentiates between the presence of carbon monoxide and smoke.

The detectors must be installed in accordance with construction standards. The detectors and their installation instructions must both meet the approval of the state fire marshal.

Attention Landlords

SB 183 provides that a landlord may enter the dwelling unit for purposes of installing, repairing, testing and/or maintaining carbon dioxide devices pursuant to the requirements of the California Civil Code (section 1954). The bill also requires that a tenant give the landlord notice if the tenant discovers that a detector is not working properly.

Commencing July 1 2014 all smoke alarms including combination smoke alarms, that are solely battery powered shall contain a non replaceable, non removable battery that is capable of powering the smoke alarm for at least 10 years.

Commencing January 1, 2015 all new listings of smoke alarms or combination smoke alarms shall display the date of manufacture, provide a place on the device where the date of installation can be written, and incorporate a hush device.

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DISCLAIMER

This article is intended to be a general discussion only, and should not be considered legal or real estate advice. Your use of it does not create either an attorney-client or broker-client relationship. Any liability that might arise from your use or reliance on this article, or any of its links, is expressly disclaimed. This blog is not legal, real estate, loan, accounting or tax advice, and is not to be acted on as such, it was outdated the moment it was written, and is subject to change without notice.  If you are dealing with a potential problem with your investment property you are advised to retain the appropriate licensed professional.