The Rules for Tenants Regarding Smoke Alarms

Olympia – In 2019, 54 people were killed in residential fires in Washington State. Approximately 70% of those fatalities occurred in homes without working smoke alarms. Some of these fatalities occurred in rental properties. 

The Revised Code of Washington clarifies requirements for landlords and tenants when it comes to installing and maintaining smoke alarms in rental properties.

Section 3 of RCW 43.44.110 states that while landlords are required to provide working smoke alarm(s) in a rental unit, Tenants are required to maintain the smoke alarm and notify the landlord of any operational defects. Failure to follow these requirements may result in a fine of up to $200.

The Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office reminds Tenants of the following maintenance steps:

·         Smoke alarms should be tested at least every six months to ensure proper operation.

·         Batteries in smoke alarms with replaceable batteries should be changed every six months.

·         Smoke alarms with 10 year batteries should also be tested at least every six months, but batteries do not to be replaced.

·         Smoke alarms that are older than 10 years of age and/or fail to respond to testing, should be replaced by the Landlord.

·         Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations as necessary.

For more information, call the State Fire Marshal’s Office at (360) 596-3929.