News & Information: Patty the Property Manager

Dear Patty: Smoke Alarm Inspections

Friday, February 20, 2015  
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Dear Patty,

I have several properties that during inspection show missing or damaged smoke alarms. Isn’t there something new concerning smoke alarm laws in Florida? And where are the best locations to place smoke alarms?

--Upin Smoke

Dear Upin,

Yes, there is a new Florida statute that went into effect on January 1, 2015. I will give you the highlights, plus provide the actual statute number and additional information so that you can review it for yourself.

Smoke alarms must be installed in a hallway or an area leading to sleeping rooms and on all levels, including basements. However, in new construction homes, alarms must be installed within each sleeping room. Also in new construction, alarms must be interconnected and provided with both AC and battery backup power.

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Also beginning on January 1, 2015 a battery-powered smoke alarm that is newly installed or replaces an existing battery-powered smoke alarm must now be powered by a nonremovable, nonreplaceable battery that powers the alarm for at least 10 years.

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Florida Statute 553.885 further states that if a building for which a building permit is issued for new construction — and has a fossil-fuel-burning heater or appliance, a fireplace, or an attached garage — must have an approved operational carbon monoxide alarm installed within 10 feet of each room used for sleeping purposes.

Learn more

Also, as a side note, most maintenance checks of smoke alarms consist of pressing the test button on the unit. This only informs you that there is power to the alarm by the battery or by the house electricity. To further prove that the alarm is functioning correctly, it may be better to test the unit with canned smoke.

It’s always a good idea for property managers to do regular onsite smoke alarm inspections!


"Patty the Property Manager” appears courtesy of the ORRA Property Management Council (formerly a subcommittee). Readers are invited to submit property management related questions to Patty by sending an e-mail to

The ORRA Property Management Council provides this property-management advice column as a service to ORRA members. The column is intended to provide a general understanding, not as a substitute for individual legal consultation. The column should not be relied upon in specific situations without consulting a real estate attorney.

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