NY State Smoke Alarm law

Recently a law was passed in NYS that calls for sellers to provide smoke alarms. I was under the impression that one per level and at least one carbon monoxide alarm was required. I have discussed this with 3 different realtors this week and got 4 different versions of the law. Does anyone have a definitive answer? Thanks in advance.

Hi! Bill;
For awhile I have been adviseing that you should have a smoke detector in each bedroom, and on each floor and also include a CO detector on premisses. Even my Reporthost program has it. I think that it is a great idea and a good law if there is one. Why not check with your local fire house, I think they should know if there is one.

Regards Len

Thanks Len -

I have been doing the same, but I just was wondering what the actual wording of the law was. I had a Realtor tell me last spring that it was a requirement for sellers to provide the alarms before the sale. Since then I’ve heard different versions of the law - including “there is no such law”. I’m going to try and get in touch with the State to get the real scoop. I’ll let you know.:nachi:

NYS Code on Smoke Detectors

Existing Structure- Battery Operated on each living level. (Another words if you can enter it - install it.)
In January 2004- New Construction and any additional work requiring a permit. If it is accessible without removing existing walls.
Smoke Detectors on each level and in every sleeping room, hardwired and connected in a series. So when one alarms, all alarm.
You have to look in the Fire Code section of the new Building Codes. The Fire Code is retroactive to all buildings.

March 2004 -Any Building sold in NYS has to have a Carbon Monoxide Detector in the lower living level before closing. (if it is in the cellar and no one is there. It goes off who will hear it?) If you have two or more Furnaces probably should have 2 or more CO2 Detectors.

The Smoke Detector is Minimal Code for NYS
Carbon Monoxide Detector is a Real Property Law.


Thanks Rickey

Excellent - Thanks Rick. :slight_smile:

Thank’s Ricky, I’ll keep that info handy enenthough I recommend both items to that criteria.

The installation of these alarms are the responsibility of the seller, correct?


the “bill”. :sarcasm:

Carbon Monoxide Requirements.pdf (104 KB)



You are “The Man” :slight_smile:

Fred posted the actual code/law on CO detectors, and the following is a link to a TB from the NYS codes division on the requirements for Smoke Detectors … http://dos.state.ny.us/code/pdf/smokedetex.pdf (skip to the second paragraph on page 2 and the summary on the last page).

Essentially for an existing house that has not been recently constructed or remodeled, the requirement is … “At least one single-station smoke alarm shall be installed on or near the ceiling in each dwelling unit, …” (Fire Code 907., which is suppose to be certified by the seller at closing.

However I would always recommend that smoke detectors be installed where they would be required for new construction as a guide for additional safety.

JMO and 2-nickels … :wink:

The way I read what Rob just posted, a single family dwelling (the entire house) is THE dwelling. If one smoke detector is required PER dwelling, then only one is required in the home.

Whether this is sound advice is not the question. When we state that the “code” requires something other than it does, we get into trouble. I always recommend that at least one detector be placed per level. Keep it away from the kitchen. Put one in the furnace room and at the top of the basement stairs. At least one on the sleeping level, and preferably one per bedroom. Where practical, I advise that hallway smoke detectors are the type with built in lights.

So, Rob… are more than one detector required on existing homes with no recent renovations?

Does this seem like a viable statement?

  • At least one single-station smoke alarm should be installed on or near the ceiling in each level of the dwelling unit. At least one carbon monoxide alarm should be installed in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms on the lowest floor level of the dwelling unit containing bedrooms. The presence of these units is suppose to be certified by the seller at closing.*

According to the Residential Code of New York State, 2003 June, I quote
"Section R317
Smoke Alarms and Automatic Sprinkler Systems
R317.1 Single and multiple station smoke alarms.
Single and multi station smoke alarms shall be installed in each of the following locations:

  1. In each sleeping room
  2. Outside of each seperate sleeping area in the immediate area of the bedrooms.
  3. On each additional story of the dwelling, including basements and cellars but not including crawl spaces and unihabitable attics. In dwellings or dwekking units with split levels and without an intervening door between the adjacent levels, a smoke alarm installed on the upper level shall suffice for the adjacent lower level provided that the lower level is less than one full story below the upper level.

When more than one smoke alarm is required to be installed within an individual dwelling unit the alarm devices shall be interconnected in such a manner that the activation of one alarm will activate all of the alarms in the individual unit. The alarm shall be clearly audible in all bedrooms over background noise levels with all intervening doors closed.

All smoke alarms shall be listed and installed in accordance with all provisions of this code and the household fire warning equipment provisions of NFPA 72."

The realtors I have spoken to all indicate there is indeed an established ruling they must advise their clients of that any home listed for sale must have a carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm. The book I quoted is, I believe, the latest edition of the Residential Code of NY State.

Tom Valosin

Thanks Tom-

I believe that the ruling you listed is for new construction.

After all, a seller can’t be expected to install hard-wired alarms can they? This law has alot of people scratching their heads :-k or chins.


Is speaking of New Construction and any rehab of a building where is accessible to install the Smoke Detector. This is in the New Code for Jan. 2004.