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Property Management Blog

Smoke Alarms: Installation, Testing, and Maintenance

Wayne Hartigan - Monday, November 28, 2016

California’s Health and Safety Code requires that on or before January 1, 2016, all residential buildings must be equipped with a smoke alarm in each bedroom and any other sleeping room. Those smoke alarms must be approved by the State Fire marshal and must be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Existing alarms need not be replaced unless the alarm is inoperable. Unless prohibited by local law, battery-operated smoke alarms are acceptable. State law does require hard wired smoke alarms be installed in existing units when work is done to the unit that requires a permit and when the value of the work totals $1,000 or more.

Beginning July 1, 2014 California law requires that battery-powered smoke alarms sold in California must have a non-replaceable, non-removable battery that will last for at least 10 years. The law does, however, create an exception through July 1, 2015. A property owner, managing agent, contractor, wholesaler or retailer that has smoke alarms in stock or on order, which do not have 10-year battery life, can continue to install or sell them through July 1, 2015.

Beginning on January 1, 2015, in addition to the 10 year battery life (which begins July 1, 2014), all smoke alarms or combination smoke alarms sold must have four additional features: (1) display the date of manufacture; (2) Provide a place on the device where the date of installation can be written; (3) Incorporate a hush feature; and (4) Incorporate an end-of-life feature that provides notice that the device needs to be replaced.

Rental property owners are responsible for testing and maintaining smoke alarms. If you would like more good information about how to effectively manage your investment property, please contact us at


Wayne Hartigan
Arrow Management Company

Phone: 626-796-4926
Fax: 626-796-3375

Our Address:
107 S. Fair Oaks Ave., #324
Pasadena, CA 91105

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