January 1st Requirement for Multi-Family Dwellings

Written by: Commercial Real Estate Inspectors, LLC

Since the deadline is rapidly coming up, I thought I’d send you a reminder:

According to CA Senate Bill SB 183regarding Carbon Monoxide Alarms, having CO detectors will be mandatory as of Jan 1st, 2013 in all Multi-family dwellings of four units or more.


In a nutshell, the new law also states that:

  • All existing single-family dwellings that contain a fossil fuel burning heater or appliance, fireplace, or an attached garage must have already installed carbon monoxide alarms that are UL approved by July 1, 2011.
  • CO alarms must be either battery powered or plug-in with battery backup.
  • CO alarms must be installed outside of sleeping areas and on every level of a dwelling, including the basement.

Landlords, property managers, and property management companies should plan to install detectors in the properties they manage or rent out as they will be required installation.

Smoke / CO Alarms

There are approved combination Smoke / CO Alarms that can be installed or if you don’t feel comfortable about using combination detectors, you can always install separate CO and Smoke Detectors. However, please be aware that CO Alarms alone will not substitute for Smoke Alarms. You need to have either both or a combination Smoke/CO Detector installed.

Cost of CO Alarm Installation

According to a local retrofit company, the cost to install a CO alarm that is battery operated is approximately $50.00 each. If the CO alarm needs to be hard wired then the cost is $135.00 for each one installed. A battery operated combination CO and Smoke alarm installed is $65.00 each.

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