Smoke Detector Law is Changing

Smoke Alarms  

 Installation, Testing, and Maintenance  

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 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 alarmsold 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 the 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.

Special thanks to:

Cory Koehler

Senior Deputy Director

Rental Housing Association of Sacramento Valley

Blog Home