Maryland Homeowners: Get Ready for Strict New Smoke Alarm Rules

Beginning July 1, homeowners and landlords will need to periodically update battery and hard-wired systems to improve safety Smoke Detector











Maryland homeowners face stringent new mandates relating to the smoke detectors in their homes, as a result of new rules set to take effect July 1.

Under legislation (HB 1413 & SB 969) approved by the Maryland General Assembly and expected to be signed by the governor, homeowners must update the smoke detectors in their homes to newer sealed-battery systems if the smoke detectors are battery operated and are over 10 years old or malfunction when tested. Smoke detectors that are hard-wired also must be updated every 10 years or when those systems malfunction.

For homeowners selling their properties, sellers must disclose in writing whether their smoke detectors are more than 10 years old and whether the systems use a 10-year sealed battery. The required notice will be added to the seller “Property Condition Disclosure” Form, one of the documents realtors use to process the home-sale transaction.

The new legislation also requires that at least one smoke detector be located on every floor of a home by 2018.

Requirements for Landlords

Landlords of one- and two-dwelling units also face new requirements. They must upgrade battery smoke detectors to new, 10-year sealed battery units whenever there’s a change in occupancy or when those systems are 10 years old or malfunction.

Landlords for buildings with more than two units also are affected. The legislation assigns tenants of those units responsibility for testing the smoke alarms and notifying their landlords of any problems. Where problems occur, the landlords are required to replace or repair the broken systems.


Jerry Kline is a Realtor with the Odenton, Md., office of Keller Williams Flagship Realty (1216 Annapolis Rd., Odenton.) For more information on the local real estate market, contact him at (443) 924-7418, or visit his blog ( or website (
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