Saturday, June 18, 2011

REMINDER: Carbon Monoxide Detectors Required In All Single Family Dwellings by July 1

From the SAMCAR Relay Newsletter of 6/10/11:

Carbon Monoxide Detectors must be installed, consistent with new construction standards or according to the approved instructions for the detectors, in all existing single-family dwelling units no later than July 1, 2011. All other dwelling units (such as apartments) must have proper carbon monoxide detectors no later than January 1, 2013.

The new regulation also creates disclosure requirements with respect to carbon monoxide detectors. Currently, sellers of residential properties must provide the buyer with a Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS). The TDS requires the seller to answer a variety of inquiries as to features of the property. The statute amended the TDS such that, effective January 1, 2011, the seller will have to verify whether or not the property contains one or more carbon monoxide detectors.

Background: on May 7, 2010, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law Senate Bill 183 (Lowenthal), a bill that requires the placement of carbon monoxide detectors in all California dwelling units. The bill also requires that the presence or absence of these devices must be disclosed when residential real estate is transferred.

This law deals with existing housing. (New construction standards are set by other state agencies.) It covers every "dwelling unit intended for human occupancy" which means single-family housing, factory-built homes, condominiums, motels, hotels, dormitories, and dwelling units in "multiple-unit dwelling unit buildings" (apartment houses). It applies to every dwelling unit that has "a fossil fuel burning heater or appliance, fireplace, or an attached garage".

"Fossil fuel" means "coal, kerosene, oil, wood, fuel gases, and other petroleum or hydrocarbon products, which emit carbon monoxide as a byproduct of combustion."

The requirements are that such dwelling units will have to have installed a "carbon monoxide device" that is designed to detect carbon monoxide and produce a "distinct, audible alarm." The device may be battery-powered, a plug in, or hard-wired with a battery backup. The carbon monoxide detector may be combined with a smoke detector, but, if it is, it must emit "an alarm or voice warning in a manner that clearly differentiates between a carbon monoxide alarm warning and a smoke detector warning.

"NOTE: Even if the answer is "no" on the TDS, that data will not invalidate the sale or transfer of the property. Thus, while the lack of such a carbon monoxide detector may fail to meet current safety standards; a transfer of the property may still take place.

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