Preventing Tenants From Disabling Smoke Alarms. Suggestions?

15 Replies

I am seeking suggestions for how to prevent tenants from disabling smoke alarms.  Verbal warnings and statements written into the lease may not be effective.  I've seen plastic bags taped over alarms!!

This is important to me as they can harm others in multifamily settings by disabling them.

Originally posted by @William Coet :

I am seeking suggestions for how to prevent tenants from disabling smoke alarms.  Verbal warnings and statements written into the lease may not be effective.  I've seen plastic bags taped over alarms!!

This is important to me as they can harm others in multifamily settings by disabling them.

 I agree with @Michael Le it's time for them to leave. "Harming others" is a understatement. If a fire breaks out, you probably have some legal, possibly criminal, liability for letting them get away with it.

@William Coet   Put wording in your lease.  Also add wording that batteries must be replaced every 6 months by the tenants.

The biggest problem is the placement of smoke alarms and setting them off accidentally when you are cooking.  Do not put them in the kitchen.  During the day, most people are awake and would see or smell the smoke, the problem is when you are sleeping.  Put them in the hallway closer to where the bedrooms are.  That way if you accidentally burn something on the stove while you are cooking, they won't go off.

I must chine on always buy combo smoke/Co2 alarms .

Must issues of alarms going off all the time is too close to the stove.

That brings up if you had a proper stove  vent hood to the out side that would cut down on alarms going off all the time .

Set your alarm close to the kitchen but not too close  so if the stove has issues the alarm will go off quick .

You need to have strong wording in your lease and the moxie to enforce it.

Here's an excerpt from our rental agreement:

SMOKE ALARMS AND CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS. Tenant acknowledges that Landlord, or his agent, upon commencement of tenancy at the above described premises, has installed or caused to be installed __________operational smoke detection/alarm device(s), __________operational carbon monoxide detection/alarm device(s), __________operational combination smoke/CO detection/alarm devices and has shown Tenant their operation. Tenant assumes responsibility to maintain these detection/alarm devices in proper operating condition and will not tamper with these detection/alarm devices. Failure to comply with these provisions would be a violation of the laws of the state of Washington and can result in a fine to Tenant of not more than two hundred dollars ($200), and is grounds for eviction.

    Originally posted by @Pat L. :

    I also agree. We had a local landlord fined (I believe it was $10k) for disabled detectors when a fire did in fact occur. 


    That is great photo! Installed on "The House" would have been even better.

     

    Originally posted by @Michael Le :

    How about just issuing a lease violation and then evicting them?

    This is the way to go. Disabling smoke alarms is no joke. If they want to smoke they need to go outside. 

    If there are children in the unit and the smoke alarms are tampered with or disabled, consider calling Children/Youth Services.  Parents that dumb/dangerous should not have custody!

    The town where most of my investment properties are located, has a new Building Code. All dwelling units must have 10-year sealed battery-powered smoke/carbon monoxide alarms. The Kidde units cost approximately $35 on Amazon. And best of all, neither tenant or Landlord has to replace batteries annually. The incessant beeping was one reason why my tenants kept tampering with the detectors (too lazy to install a new battery in the detector).

    Originally posted by @Judy P.:

    The town where most of my investment properties are located, has a new Building Code. All dwelling units must have 10-year sealed battery-powered smoke/carbon monoxide alarms. The Kidde units cost approximately $35 on Amazon. And best of all, neither tenant or Landlord has to replace batteries annually. The incessant beeping was one reason why my tenants kept tampering with the detectors (too lazy to install a new battery in the detector).

    We use the 10 year sealed units, and they are very nice compared to dealing with changing batteries.   I contacted the manufacturer because I had some that nuisance alarmed, and they said it was likely because of dust build up.  They recommended a can of compressed air to blow the dust out, and it has worked so far.  I am going to make it part of my routine maintenance to clean them out to avoid nuisance alarms in the middle of the night and maintain them.