Thursday, August 02, 2012

City of Boston Changes Smoke Certification Rules

As of August 1, 2012, the City of Boston will no longer provide smoke certificates for any property built after 1975, or for any property regardless of age that contains 6 or more units. The reasoning they use is that in 1975 all new construction was required to have hard wired smoke detectors. You can see the regulations below. 

The state law actually does not require properties built after 1975 to be inspected before being sold. I was unaware of that, and was always told (by fire department officials and others) that Mass state law required all residential properties to have a smoke cert when transferring ownership. You learn something new every day in this business. The Boston Fire Department will still inspect all properties for carbon monoxide detectors, but will issue a certificate that only says CO was checked, not smokes. If they happen to observe something wrong with the smoke detectors while they are there inspecting the CO's they will issue an abatement (whatever that is???!!!)

How does this affect real estate agents in Salem and on the north shore? Well, it really doesn't unless you are listing a residential property in Boston. But how many cities and town will follow Boston's lead? The other issue is that all lenders require a smoke certificate at closing. You will have a CO cert., but the City of Boston says if the lender requires a smoke cert. they will not issue it and you will have to get it through a third party.

The smoke detector laws are complicated enough with the requirements of the correct placement of ionization, photoelectric and dual technology units, and especially when you take into consideration the variances in the requirements between the different towns. It could just get a little more tedious now if the northshore Massachusetts towns adopt Boston's rules.

Jim Armstrong

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