March 1, 2018
SMOKE ALARMS - WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Timothy S. Carey, Esq.
On or before January 1st of this year, all residential dwellings in Maryland were required to be in compliance with the laws adopted by the Maryland General Assembly in 2013 concerning the installation and maintenance of smoke alarms (a single or multiple station device that detects visible or invisible products of combustion and includes a built-in internal alarm signal) or smoke detectors (a system-connected smoke sensing device tied to a fire alarm control panel or a household fire warning panel) in residential dwellings. The law establishes rules which set forth the types of smoke detectors permitted, the location of where the smoke alarms must be installed within your home, and what, if any, upgrades may be necessary to your current smoke alarms(s) based on the age of the dwelling. The new rules specifically apply to the interior of homes and not to any common areas for homeowners' associations or common elements in a condominium, therefore, it is the homeowner's responsibility to ensure compliance and not the Community Association or Condominium. However, if the Community Association or Condominium owns a dwelling, then the Community Association or Condominium must ensure any dwellings it owns comply with the rules. Given the health and safety importance of the new rules, we felt it important to provide this information to our communities, and; further, we recommend advising all owners of their obligations at your next meeting or in a newsletter to the Community. Be advised, however, that the County in which your Community is located may also have adopted its own requirements with respect to smoke alarms and those should be reviewed as well.