Fire Marshals reminding landlords of WA smoke alarm laws

Washington Fire Marshal's Office

KENNEWICK, Wash. — Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office reminds landlords of the life-saving rules regarding smoke alarms.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office reports that recent data showed in 2020, 59 people lost their lives to residential fires in Washington State. “Approximately 72% of those fatalities occurred in homes without working smoke alarms,” according to a press release by Deputy State Fire Marshal Robert Wittenberg. The same press release also states that some of those fatalities reported occurred on rental properties.

According to Washington State Law (under RCW 43.44.110-3), landlords are required to provide working smoke alarms in a rental, but tenants must maintain them.

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The Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office reminds landlords of the following requirements:

  • Installation of smoke detection devices in all sleeping rooms and hallways of the rental unit shall be the landlord’s responsibility.
  •  At the time of a vacancy, the landlord shall ensure that the smoke detection devices are operational before the re-occupancy of the unit.

Local jurisdictions may enforce and assess the following penalties:

  • Non-compliance shall be punished by a fine up to $200.
  • In homes that have been sold since July 1, 2019, the owner may be subject to a $5,000 fine if a fire occurs, resulting in damage, injury, or death to the tenant or their household, and no smoke alarm was present.

To learn more or reach out to the State Fire Marshal’s Office for questions, visit: www.wsp.wa.gov.