Detecting the Detector

For years California home sellers, including those selling their homes in the Lake Oroville real estate market have been required to certify, in writing that working smoke detectors will be in place at the close of their transaction.

Beginning July 1. 2011 a recently enacted law by the California legislature requires that, in addition to working smoke detectors, a working carbon monoxide detector must be in place in each  “dwelling unit intended for human occupancy.”

This means that you, as a seller, as well as your agent is going to need to be sure that you have a working CO detector in place before close of escrow .

Here is a synopsis of the requirement as provided by the California Association of REALTORS® website:

This law enacts the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2010.  The law requires a carbon monoxide device (battery or hard-wired) to be installed in a “dwelling unit intended for human occupancy.”  A violation is punishable by a maximum fine of $200 for each offense.  Owners of residential rental property must also comply with this law.  Tenants are responsible to notify the owner of an inoperable or deficient carbon monoxide device.

Installation Time Period:

  • On or before July 1, 2011 for existing single-family dwelling units
  • On or before Jan. 1, 2013 for all other existing dwelling unit

I think most people would agree that this is a good idea to put into place. But, what has me scratching my head about this new regulation, is the definition of a “dwelling unit intended for human occupancy.” the State of California is using in order to enforce this law. Here is the actual text from the law itself:

“Dwelling unit intended for human occupancy” means a single-family
dwelling, factory-built home as defined in Section 19971, duplex, lodging
house, dormitory, hotel, motel, condominium, stock cooperative, time-share
project, or dwelling unit in a multiple-unit dwelling unit building or
buildings. “Dwelling unit intended for human occupancy” does not mean
a property owned or leased by the state, the Regents of the University of
California, or a local governmental agency.

As you can see by the text I have highlighted in red, government agencies are exempt from protecting occupants of their properties from CO poisoning.  So I guess all you college dorm dwellers, and public housing occupants will have to provide your own protection.

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