How to Comply with New Smoke Detector Requirements
In late December 2013, Mayor Bloomberg signed new smoke alarm regulations that came into effect in April 2014. Local Law 112 of 2013 was signed to address the public safety concern that apartments may be equipped with smoke alarms that no longer function properly. Properly installed and working smoke alarms can provide an early warning of the presence of fire, allowing sufficient time for occupants to escape. But all too often batteries that power alarms are either removed or not replaced when they expire.
The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) reports that more than 77 percent of last year’s fire-related fatalities occurred in residences without working smoke alarms. “A working smoke alarm is critical to surviving a fire in the home. By alerting residents when a fire is present, smoke alarms provide the early alert and time needed to escape,” said Lieutenant Anthony Mancuso, director of Fire Safety Education for FDNY. “We encourage property owners and residents to understand the importance of smoke alarms; to replace any outdated, damaged, or missing alarms to comply with the new law; and to help keep New York City families safe.”
New Smoke Detector Requirements
Specifically, Local Law 112 amended article 312 of chapter 3 of title 28 the Administrative Code to require owners to replace required smoke alarms when they exceed the manufacturer’s suggested useful life.
Alarms installed before the effective date of the law (April 1, 2014) must be replaced by the later of six months after the effective date of the law or the expiration of the manufacturer’s suggested useful life of the alarm. A smoke alarm installed before the effective date and whose end of useful life isn’t known must be replaced with an compliant alarm within seven years of April 1, 2014.
And all newly installed alarms must be equipped with an audible “end of life” warning device and with a non-removable, non-replaceable battery that powers the alarm for a minimum of 10 years. A long-life battery sealed inside an alarm makes it virtually tamper proof and eliminates the risk of tenants disabling the alarm.
The law also amended the Housing Maintenance Code to clarify owner and tenant responsibilities. Owners are required to inform tenants of the owner’s duty to replace expired alarms, and tenants are required to reimburse owners for such replacement in the same manner as for newly installed alarms.
Summary of Owner Responsibilities
All owners of residential buildings containing three or more apartments must install one or more approved smoke detectors in each apartment unless each apartment in the building is fully sprinklered. The following summarizes how to comply with the smoke detector law:
Installation. Owners must provide and install at least one approved and operational detecting device in each apartment within 15 feet of the primary entrance to each sleeping room. Smoke alarms must comply with Underwriters’ Laboratories 217 standard and have a non-removable, non-replaceable battery that powers the alarm for a minimum of 10 years. It also must emit an audible notification at the expiration of the useful life of the alarm.
Smoke detectors may be mounted on either the wall or ceiling. If mounted on the wall, the detector must be four to 12 inches from the ceiling. If installed on the ceiling, a detector must be at least four inches from the wall.
Posting. Owners must post a notice in a common area informing occupants of their right to have smoke detectors. See our Model Notice: Post Smoke Detector Notice in Building's Common Area (link below).
Maintaining detectors. Tenants must maintain their smoke detectors once they’ve been installed. But owners must replace any detector that has been stolen, removed, missing, or rendered inoperable before a new tenant moves in if the prior tenant hasn't replaced it.
But a smoke detector that becomes inoperable during the first year through no fault of the tenant must be repaired or replaced by the owner within 30 days.
Records. Owners must keep all records relating to the installation and maintenance of the detector and provide them to the Department of Housing Preservation & Development’s Division of Code Enforcement (HPD), the Department of Buildings, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the FDNY if requested. Information to save includes records of smoke detector installation, listing the apartment number, date of installation, date the detector was tested, date any maintenance work was performed, date any tenant requested repair or replacement, and the tenant’s name.
Certificate of installation. Within 10 days after all detectors have been installed in a building or when devices are changed according to the requirement time frames or whenever broken/missing devices are replaced, an owner must file a Certificate of Satisfactory Installation with HPD.
You can file either by using HPDONLINE (https://webapps.hpdnyc.org/HPDonline/provide_address.aspx) or by printing and properly completing certification of the installation forms. You must be validly registered with HPD in order to file this certificate online or using the forms.
Charge to tenants. Each tenant must reimburse the owner a maximum of $25, or a maximum of $50 where a combined smoke and carbon monoxide detecting device is installed, for the cost of providing and installing each such device. The tenant has one year from the date of installation to make the payment to the owner.
See The Model Tools For This Article
|Post Smoke Detector Notice in Building's Common Area