Smoke, carbon monoxide alarm law helping make city safer

As seen in Real Estate Weekly

By Steven Spinola

Last month, we were reminded to set our clocks forward one hour for Daylight Savings. It is also during this time of year that we are reminded to change the batteries in our smoke alarms.

However, this year will mark a change in that routine for many families in New York for the next several years.

As of April 1, owners of multi-family properties in New York City are now required to install new smoke or combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms when replacing the current units.

These new devices will feature a battery lasting up to ten years, which is sealed inside of the unit itself to prevent tampering or removal

This new smoke alarm regulation will help create safer homes for tenants, and the ten-year battery life may cut down on maintenance costs and repairs.

This new law, Local Law 1111-2013, was signed into effect in December 2013 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. In addition to mandating a non-removable and non-replaceable battery which lasts a minimum of ten years, the law also states that the alarms must emit an audible notification at the expiration of its useful

Property owners can also be reimbursed by a tenant up to $50 per installation of each combination alarm, after which time the tenant has one year from the installation date to make compensation.

Once installed, the tenant is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the alarm.

There are more than 3,400 fire-related deaths and another 17,500 injuries in the United States alone per year, a large number of which occur in the home.

There are an additional 400 deaths and 4,000 hospitalizations due to carbon monoxide poisoning, which, without a functioning carbon monoxide detector, can be almost impossible to detect.

I would like to acknowledge the Councilmembers who sponsored Local Law 1111-2013 and property owners who have already installed these new combination smoker/CO alarms in their multi-family homes.

Through your efforts, we are continuing to make our city a safer place to live.