Corrected information on California landlords’ responsibilities for smoke detectors

California landlords may no longer require tenants to test detectors, and tenants must give landlords access in order to inspect, maintain, and replace them.

As of January 1, 2013 (multi-family residences) and January 1, 2014 (single-family residences), California law forbade landlords from requiring tenants to test smoke detectors. (Ca. Health & Safety Code Section 13113.7.) The sixteenth edition of The California Landlord’s Law Book: Rights & Responsibilities, did not capture this change, nor did we amend the Landlord/Tenant Checklist. We have updated the form. Otherwise, here are specific changes and corrections to the text:

  • Page 56, “Additional Provisions You May Want to Add.” The text for the smoke detectors clause should read as follows: “Tenants agree to promptly notify Landlord in writing should any smoke detector appear to be malfunctioning or inoperable. Tenant will not refuse Landlord access for the purpose of inspecting, maintaining, repairing, or installing legally-required smoke detectors.”
  • Page 129, last paragraph, first column. The existing text, referencing the tenant’s responsibility to test detectors, should be disregarded. The duty falls squarely on the landlord.
  • The Landlord/Tenant Checklist. We have amended the language at the end of the Checklist (which you can download from the book’s companion page) to conform with current law, as follows: “[ ] Tenants acknowledge that all smoke detectors and fire extinguishers were tested in their presence and found to be in working order. Tenants agree to promptly report any problems to Landlord/Manager in writing. Tenants understand that Landlord may enter the premises, with reasonable written notice (presumed to be twenty-four hours), for the purpose of installing, repairing, testing, and maintaining single station smoke alarms.”