Lauren Bunting

Lauren Bunting

(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.

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