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Does my landlord have to provide smoke detectors?

If you rent, you have limited ability to secure your home and make sure it is safe. You often have to rely on the landlord to make repairs or additions to the home that will help to keep you safe. Typically, unless a landlord must do so by law, he or she will not be quick to do anything to the property. For this reason, you need to make sure you understand what the law requires of your landlord.

When it comes to smoke detectors, the State of New Jersey Department of Community Affairs explains landlords must provide you with smoke detectors that have a ten-year sealed battery if you are moving into a new place. If you already live in a home or apartment, then your landlord does have to provide smoke detectors but does not have to replace the current smoke alarms with the ten-year models. In addition, you are generally responsible for maintaining them by replacing the battery as needed.

The ten-year battery

The reason the law states smoke detectors now need to have a sealed ten-year battery is that this is the new industry standard. It reduces the chances of a battery going dead without anyone knowing and putting residents at risk. Furthermore, ten years is the typical lifespan of a smoke detector, so when the battery goes dead, you know it is time to replace the unit.

Where they go

You should have adequate coverage of your home by smoke detectors. At a minimum, you need to have one on each floor of your home. Do not forget to put one in the basement. You also should have units outside of every bedroom or in a hallway outside the bedrooms in your home if they are all close together. You should also place detectors in high-risk areas, such as the kitchen and the laundry room, where fires are more likely to start.