Ocean City Today

New residential smoke alarm law currently in effect

Real Estate Report
By Lauren Bunting | Feb 15, 2018

(Feb. 16, 2018) As of Jan. 1, there are new residential smoke alarm requirements in Maryland, as per a bill passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 2013.

The Maryland Realtors association provided information to help its members understand the new smoke alarm requirements. (An infographic on this topic can be viewed at the Maryland Realtors website, www.mdrealtors.org.)

In many ways, the law is simpler now. As of Jan. 1, Maryland law is as follows:

• No alarm (battery powered or hard wired) may be older than 10 years from the date of manufacture

• 9-Volt battery alarms are no longer permitted

• AC powered alarms less than 10 years old are still acceptable

• One alarm must be located on each level of the dwelling, including the basement

• One alarm must be located outside each “sleeping area”

• For homes built or renovated after Jan. 1, 2013, one alarm must be placed in each “sleeping room”

• Additional alarms required as of Jan. 1, 2018 (such as in a basement) may be batter-operated if they are sealed, long life battery smoke alarms with a silence/hush button feature

The type of smoke alarm required in a dwelling depends on the age of the property. Here is a summary:

• Built before July 1, 1975: Alarm may be battery operated or AC

• Built between July 1, 1975 to Jan. 1, 1989: AC alarm is required

• Built between Jan. 1, 1989 and July 1, 1990: Alarms must be AC and interconnected to alarm simultaneously

• Built between July 1, 1990 and July 1, 2013: Alarms must be AC with a battery backup

• Built or renovated after July 1, 2013: Alarms must be AC with a battery backup and configured to sound simultaneously

As the new law relates to real estate transactions, a seller who fails to comply with the law is subject to a fine, imprisonment or both.

A listing agent representing a seller who is in violation of the law must disclose to prospective buyer that the seller is not in compliance, and a buyer’s agent who is aware that the seller is not in compliance with the law, must disclose this fact to his/her client.

— Lauren Bunting is a licensed Associate Broker with Bunting Realty, Inc. in Berlin.

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