Health and Safety Code §§13113.7, 13113.8, and 13114

Amended by S.B. 1394

Effective Date:  January 1, 2013, except where noted

As of January 1, 2014, a building permit issued for alterations or repairs of $1,000 or more on residential property will not be signed off until the property owner demonstrates all smoke alarms are on the current list of devices approved and listed by the State Fire Marshal. The signature restriction is an amendment to existing law.

Smoke alarms will meet the following requirements to be approved and listed by the State Fire Marshal:

  • display the date of manufacture;
  • have a hush feature;
  • include an alarm indicating the unit needs to be replaced; and
  • if battery operated, contain a non-replaceable battery that lasts at least ten years.

The State Fire Marshal can create exceptions to these requirements. In the event of a shortage of suitable alarm systems, the State Fire Marshal can suspend enforcement of these requirements by up to six months by posting a public notice on their website.

Additionally, the State Fire Marshal is no longer authorized to exempt housing units with only a fire sprinkler system from smoke alarm installation requirements. However, a fire alarm system with smoke detectors may be installed in lieu of smoke alarms.

Multi-family residential properties are no longer required to have smoke detectors in common stairwells. However, beginning January 1, 2014, owners of multi-family housing properties who rent or lease their property are now responsible for testing and maintaining smoke alarms within all the units in their properties. This applies to both occupied and unoccupied units.

On or before January 1, 2016, residential property owners who rent out one or more units must install any additional smoke alarms required under existing building standards. Existing alarms only need to be replaced if they are inoperable.