Who's Responsible for Smoke Detectors: Landlord or Tenant?

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Who's Responsible for Smoke Detectors: Landlord or Tenant?


by Sean J. Coletti, Esq.

Failure to install approved smoke detectors* in each dwelling unit, to include mobile homes, under the landlord’s control is a base for an action (Idaho Code § 6-320).

Landlords' and Tenants' Duties

Property management maintenance installing smoker detector
  • Landlords must verify that that the smoke detectors are installed and in good working order at the commencement of the rental agreement.
  • The tenant must maintain the smoke detectors in good working order during the rental period.
  • The landlord must use an approved smoke detector as defined by statute.
  • If the landlord fails to provide adequate smoke detectors, the tenant may notify the landlord by certified mail, return receipt requested that, if working smoke detectors are not installed within 72 hours of receipt of the letter, the tenant may install smoke detectors and deduct the cost from the tenant’s next month’s rent. 
  • The landlord cannot remove smoke detectors installed by the tenant.
*An approved smoke detector is a battery-operated device that is capable of detecting visible or invisible particles of combustion and that bears a label or other identification issued by an approved testing agency having a service for inspection of materials and workmanship at the factory during fabrication and assembly.

Full List of State-by-State Residential Smoke Alarm Requirements Available Here
Link Updated Sep. 2013


About the Author:

Sean ColettiSean J. Coletti, with Hopkins Roden Crockett Hansen & Hoopes, PLLC in Idaho Falls, focuses his general practice on the areas of real property and commercial litigation, business law, insurance defense, banking and foreclosure law, and planning and zoning law. Mr. Coletti served as law clerk to the Honorable John C. Hohnhorst, Fifth Judicial District Court of the State of Idaho, Twin Falls County and as law clerk to the High Court of American Samoa.

Mr. Coletti received his B.A. from Brigham Young University and his J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law, where he served as executive editor of the Connecticut Law Review.

Mr. Coletti spoke at the 2011 Residential Landlord Tenant Law and the 2012 Landlord-Tenant Law seminars in Pocatello.

Landlord-Tenant Law

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