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Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector Requirements

NYC Rent Regulation: Rent Control/Rent Stabilized, DHCR Practice/Procedures

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Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector Requirements

Postby Sky » Thu Jan 25, 2018 4:31 am

My question regards the codes governing the quantity and placement of smoke/carbon monoxide detectors in rent stabilized apartments (with the proviso that although I'm posing this question within the context of RS units, very likely the rules are independent of an apartment's rent regulation status).

To be more specific, in a multiple dwelling, multiple story pre-war elevator apartment building without sprinklers, is there a clear rule regarding how many smoke/carbon monoxide detectors are required inside the individual apartments and where there are to be positioned? Are there different (possibly conflicting?) rules/codes/laws established by the various departments, for ex. DHCR, DOB, FDNY, HPD, etc?

I've noted that many units for several years have had two smoke/carbon monoxide detectors installed, typically one installed in the entrance hallway and another at a farther quadrant of the apartment.

There's been recent requests by management for access for the purpose of installing additional smoke/carbon monoxide detectors in ALL BEDROOMS AND SLEEEPING QUARTERS in addition to the detectors already extant. Management's justification was that it was instructed to do so [by some government agency].

I'm not convinced of the pros of having numerous, and possible excessive, numbers of smoke detectors in the apartments (some tenants may end up with 6 or 7 smoke/carbon monoxide detectors) vs. the cons. Further, I'm not sure tenants want them in their bedrooms.

Further, it's possible that not all apartments in the building are being required to install multiple additional detectors but only a selection of apartments are being targeted, and for reasons at present known only by the management. Rather than relying on landlord spin, I'd like to be clear on exactly the law states, what a RS tenants obligations are here, and what if any exceptions exist to the codes (for ex. permitting fewer or requiring greater numbers of detectors in individual apartments).

??
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Re: Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector Requirements

Postby BubbaJoe123 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 9:45 am

Looking at nyc.gov, the requirement appears to be "within 15 feet of the primary entrance to each sleeping room."

http://www1.nyc.gov/nyc-resources/servi ... -detectors

There's also a city brochure directed at both landlords and tenants here:

https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/hpd/downloa ... ochure.pdf

You mention people ending up with 6-7 carbon monoxide detectors - if they already have two, but the LL wants to add one for each bedroom as well, that would mean you're talking about a four or five bedroom apartment, right?
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Re: Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector Requirements

Postby TenantNet » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:45 am

I haven't done any research on this, but...

Having more than one smoke and/or carbon monoxide detector in large apartments is probably a good idea. If you look at the web site of manufacturers (and probably trade or safety associations), they usually recommend at least one per floor in detached houses. But good idea is not necessarily the law.

Second, my understanding is that you have one (of each), or a combination unit. The law requires the LL to install one, but my LL never did. So I went out an bought one, and probably cheaper than if the LL billed me. I can't say about requirements for multiple units or placement, but the cite from Bubba does address placement.

Third, understand the units wear out, after about seven years. It's not only batteries that need to be replaced every so often, but the unit itself. See http://www.nytimes.com/1990/09/29/style ... -last.html

As to multiple detectors in each unit, if the LL wants to install more than one, I would not argue, but I would not pay for it.

But look at these. The code/rules were updated a few years ago. Here is the NYC rules (the actual rules):

http://rules.cityofnewyork.us/sites/def ... _final.pdf

https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/hpd/downloa ... -rules.pdf

https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/r ... _28-01.pdf

The third link might be to the old rules. Also, understand that HPD and DOB might have issued separate rules, with DOB being more technical. I'd look into both.
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Re: Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector Requirements

Postby Sky » Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:11 am

I've not yet had an opportunity to read through all the linked material, but I've have found out for example that a neighbor now has 8 smoke detectors installed in their apartment: one for every room (including halls) except for the bathrooms.

In my view this is excessive and burdensome. My apartment for example has no stove hood or stove vent so the place will often fill with fumes or smoke when cooking. If something smokey is being make I have to remove the smoke detector or it goes off. I'm not going to remove 8 smoke detectors in order to grill a steak, then reinstall 8 smoke detectors.

I already have 2 smoke/carbon monoxide detectors in my apartment (as did the tenant who now has 8 ) and they were located within 15' of the primary entrance of any bedroom. They have worked adequately in the past. I see no need for 6 more.

BubbaJoe123: You mention people ending up with 6-7 carbon monoxide detectors - if they already have two, but the LL wants to add one for each bedroom as well, that would mean you're talking about a four or five bedroom apartment, right?


The building has apartments ranging from studios to classic 7s. From what I can gather the scheme is a detector for each and every room (not just bedrooms) including each hall and foyer.
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Re: Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector Requirements

Postby Sky » Thu Apr 19, 2018 1:35 pm

When I was reviewing the most recent literature I recall reading about the newest regulations - which introduces a higher standard for all new construction, requiring smoke detectors for all sleeping quarters (rooms used for sleeping).
The question is if this new regulation applies to older apartments if they've undergone significant renovation and/or repair work - even if the work didn't change the floor layout. It may be that if a certain percentage of the unit has undergone repair/renovations, in the DOB's eyes this might change the classification to 'new', requiring the the much more recent and stringent regulations be applied?
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Re: Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector Requirements

Postby TenantNet » Thu Apr 19, 2018 2:48 pm

Is this a DOB rule or a new Local Law by City Council. Do you have a citation?
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Re: Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector Requirements

Postby Sky » Thu Apr 19, 2018 3:14 pm

I'll need to locate my source material and get back to you. IIRC the document was the most recent NYC building code revisions. Also IIRC residential structures that have undergone repair or renovation work beyond a certain square footage, even if the original layout was retained, is considered an alteration and treated as a 'new' structure thus the current, stricture regulations apply?
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