REBNY's Residential Management Council Releases Guidelines for Carbon Monoxide Detector Laws

Best Practices Guide Helps Property Owners Conduct Vital Safety Measures

New York, NY – September 7, 2012:  The Real Estate Board of New York’s (REBNY) Residential Management Council (RMC), in a continuing effort to educate management companies on regulations and issues facing the entire industry, has created a guide to help building owners and managers comply with laws governing the use of carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in their properties. 

Local laws require that residential property owners provide and install at least one carbon monoxide detector in every unit. The mandates also call for the replacement of all existing detectors by October 2012 or at the end of their useful life, whichever comes later.

The detector must be installed within 15 feet of the main entrance to each sleeping area/bedroom and be equipped with an end-of-life alarm. New and renovated properties are required to have hardwired CO detectors.

The RMC recommends replacing all of the detectors at the same time, which takes the guesswork out of which ones need to be replaced as their useful life expires in approximately seven years.

“When it comes to regulations regarding residential real estate, it is important for building owners and managers to know not only what the minimum requirements are, but also how these vital safety measures can be met easily and efficiently ,” said Steven Spinola, President of REBNY. “By the Residential Management Council recommending and sharing their best practices, we can better inform our members as to how to best comply with City, State, and Federal requirements.”

Coops and Condos

  • The building owner may charge residents a fixed rate of $25 per detector and $35 for a smoke/CO combination detector, but the board may also be allowed to charge back a reasonable amount for the unit cost and installation.

  • Tenants must be notified of the law through a notice in a common area of the property. Residents should also receive information regarding the testing and maintenance of the detectors and directives on what to do if the detector goes off.

  • A Certificate of Satisfactory Installation should be filed with HPD within 10 days of the installation. Select units in buildings without fossil fuel burning furnaces or boilers may be exempt from filing for the certificate.

  •  Cooperatives are required to install detectors while condominiums may be required to do so. The RMC recommends that condo and coop boards install detectors as a prudent course of action, but a definitive opinion can be sought from an attorney. 


Rentals

  • When a new tenant moves in, property owners or managers should check to ensure the CO detector is properly installed and functioning.

  • Residents should also receive information regarding the testing and maintenance of the detectors and instructions for what to do if the detector goes off.

  • Tenants are responsible for keeping the CO detectors or systems in good repair. 


Class A one- and two-family homes

  • Private one- and two-family properties are required to have detectors installed and residents should test them once a month. Batteries should be replaced twice a year or immediately if a low battery warning is heard.

  • Tenants must reimburse the building owner $25 for each CO alarm that is newly installed or replaced due to damage or improper maintenance.

Failure to provide a functioning CO detector and posting required notices regarding the laws may result in the issuance of a violation and civil penalties that range from $25 to $100 plus $10 per day until the violation is corrected.

The REBNY Residential Management Council also recently released guidelines on smoking policies and on backflow prevention devices.

For owners of residential apartment buildings and boards of cooperatives and condominiums who wish to learn more about can view the carbon monoxide guidelines please visit REBNY’s website or go to https://members.rebny.com/pdf_files/managers_BP_CO_Detectors_Final_7-30-12.pdf

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