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The Landlord's Duty for Smoke Alarms After Tenants Take Possession in California

When you rent an apartment in California, your landlord must provide a habitable living area that includes wiring, lighting and equipment, such as smoke alarms that are in great working condition. Should you rent in a multi-unit duplex or apartment complex, all of the components, as well as common stairwells, must feature operable smoke alarms. While you live in the apartment, the landlord must perform repairs on broken smoke alerts unless youpersonally, your child, guest or pet ruined them, according to California rules.

State Legislation, Neighborhood Ordinances

California law mandates that single-family dwellings, pre-fabricated houses, apartments buildings, condominiums and townhouses feature operable smoke alarms that are accepted by the state fire marshal and set up according to state regulations. Local municipalities may impose additional rules concerning smoke alarms, so check with your regional construction and security department for additional ordinances about smoke alarms.

California New Construction Building Codes

When a landlord provides an improvement or renovates and repairs a rental house on or after Aug. 14, 1992, that needs a permit and costs more than $1,000, a smoke detector has to be hard-wired using a battery backup in the new construction area. A smoke detector must be installed in every bedroom and in the area or corridor just beyond the bedroom.

Rental Properties Built Before 1992

Rental property built before 1992 might have battery-operated smoke alarms, unless it underwent major renovation or repair. Based upon the property’s layout, you to three smoke detectors have to be centrally placed outside sleeping areas.

Tenant’s Responsibilities

Tenants are obligated to report non-functional smoke alarms into the landlord so repairs could be made. Tenants also must honor the leasing property, such as caring for hallways or other common areas, to make sure that smoke alarms are in good working condition. A renter is responsible for replacing a smoke alarm he damaged or that’s ruined by the pets or people associated with him.

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