The Maryland Rules for Smoke Detectors Depend on Several Factors

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties DC AB15253

The laws governing smoke detectors in the state of Maryland can be confusing.  Smoke alarms must comply with new state-wide requirements which became effective as of January 1, 2018 and are meant to move away from alarm types requiring 9-volt batteries to those using more long-lasting batteries. The specific requirements depend on different factors, such as when a property was built, the type of dwelling, and whether it’s used as a rental.  There is no simple answer to what kind of alarm you have to install or where it should be placed since there are so many factors to evaluate! 

Since July 1, 2013 for all residential sales

Sellers must indicate on the mandatory Maryland property disclosure form whether the smoke alarms are more than 10 years old and whether they have sealed, tamper-resistant batteries.

  • For new construction (including renovation) the following is required:
    • One alarm in each sleeping room
    • One alarm in each hallway or common area outside of the sleeping rooms
    • One alarm in a hallway or common area on each level, including basements, but excluding unoccupied attics, garages, and crawl spaces
  • If more than two alarms are required in a new residential dwelling, the alarms must be configured to sound simultaneously.
  • The alarms must operate on alternating current (AC) with a battery backup or approved secondary power source.
  • The above requirements match the current 2012 International Residential Code and has been enforced by building permit offices since 2006.

Residential Smoke Alarms: Single-Family (one- to two-dwelling units), continued

For properties built before July 1, 1975:

  • At least one alarm either battery-operated or AC was required
  • After January 1, 2018, at least one alarm is required on each level of the home (excluding unoccupied attics, garages)
    • After 2018, battery-operated alarms must be sealed, long-life smoke alarms with a silence/hush button feature.

For properties built between July 1, 1975 and January 1, 1989:

  • At least one AC smoke alarm must be installed in the sleeping area
  • After January 1, 2018 (NEW REQUIREMENT)
  • At least one alarm is required in a sleeping area and one alarm on each level of the home
  • The new alarms may be battery-operated as long as they’re sealed, long-life battery smoke alarms with a silence/hush button feature.
  • No alarm should be older than 10 years.

For properties built between January 1, 1989 and July 1, 1990:

  • At least one alarm is required outside of each sleeping area and on each additional story of the home, including the basement, but there’s no requirement to alarm unoccupied attics, garages, or crawl spaces.
  • Alarms must be AC and connected to alarm simultaneously.
  • After January 1, 2018 (NEW REQUIREMENT)
  • No alarm should be older than 10 years.

For properties built between July 1, 1990 and July 1, 2013:

  • Alarms must be AC AND have battery back-up.

Residential Smoke Alarms: Single-Family Rentals (one- to two-dwelling units)

Single-Family Rentals (one- to two-dwelling units) – requirement after July 1, 2013 (NEW REQUIREMENT - EFFECTIVE AS OF 2018)

  • Alarms must be upgraded if:
    • Existing alarms exceed 10 years from date of manufacture
    • Existing alarms fail to operate or malfunction
    • A change in tenancy occurs and the residence hasn’t been previously equipped with sealed, long-life battery smoke alarms with silence/hush button features
  • AC alarms must be upgraded to new AC alarms.
  • Battery alarms must be upgraded to sealed, long-life battery smoke alarms with silence/hush button features.
  • Alarms must be located on each level of the residence excluding unoccupied attics, garages, or crawl spaces.
  •  Any additional alarm required by the new law may be battery operated as long as it’s a sealed, long-life battery with silence/hush button features.

Multi-Family Rentals (more than two dwelling units)  Effective as of January 1, 2018

  • Alarms must be AC powered.
    • Multi-family units constructed after July 1, 1990 must be AC powered with battery back-up.
  • Landlords must provide special alarms for the deaf or hard of hearing, and may require reimbursement for those alarms.
  • Landlords are responsible for the installation, repair, and replacement of smoke alarms.
  • Tenants are responsible for testing the units and notifying the landlord in writing of the failure or malfunction of the unit.
  • No alarms should be older than 10 years unless the alarms have been sensitivity tested and properly calibrated on an annual basis per current fire codes.

 

 

 

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Roy Kelley 09/05/2019 01:00 AM
Topic:
Real Estate Market Trends
Tags:
smoke detectors
10 year batteries
tamper proof smoke detectors
rules governing rental properties in maryland

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Rainmaker
2,580,928
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Yet another reminder for me that I should likely change out the smoke detectors in my home.

Aug 29, 2019 06:56 AM #1
Rainmaker
1,943,538
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Lise Howe - I am sure that many home going on the market are not updated with the new requirements.

Aug 29, 2019 07:25 AM #2
Rainmaker
3,132,333
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Oh my goodness... I think I'm dizzy after reading all these rules and regs! We also require carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in our area, but I'm not sure it's all quite that detailed... but I could be wrong... will need to go check it out.

Aug 29, 2019 07:34 AM #3
Ambassador
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George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Lise that is a looooooooooot of guidelines for smoke alarms.  Almost need a PHD to keep up with all the rules.

Aug 29, 2019 02:15 PM #4
Rainmaker
5,424,718
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is very good information to share with area residents.

Enjoy the holiday weekend.

Aug 30, 2019 01:22 PM #5
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Rainmaker
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Lise Howe

Assoc. Broker and Attorney Licensed in DC, MD, VA,
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