(Nov. 6, 2020) Homeowners in the state of Maryland should be aware that as of Jan. 1, 2018, there were new residential smoke alarm requirements put into place, as per a bill passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 2013.
Maryland Realtors infographic on this topic can be viewed at mdrealtors.org.
As of Jan. 1, 2018, 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 battery-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—must be located in each hallway outside bedrooms.
• Built between July 1, 1975 to Jan. 1, 1989: AC alarm is required—must be located in each hallway outside bedrooms.
• Built between Jan. 1, 1989 and July 1, 1990: Alarms must be AC and interconnected to alarm simultaneously—must be located in each hallway outside bedrooms.
• Built between July 1, 1990 and July 1, 2013: Alarms must be AC with a battery backup—must be located in each hallway outside bedrooms.
• Built or renovated after July 1, 2013: Alarms must be AC with a battery backup and configured to sound simultaneously—must be located in each hallway outside bedrooms and in each bedroom.
Regardless of the age of the home, batter operated-only alarms must be powered by 10-year sealed tamper resistant batteries, and no unit may be older than 10 years. 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 Atlantic Shores Sotheby’s International Realty in Ocean City.