How to Comply with the Emergency Order on Deferral of Smoke Detector Inspections

In March, MAR and CCIAOR worked with the Department of Fire Services on an emergency order allowing the deferral of smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm certificate inspections as required under Sections 26F and 26F½ of Chapter 148 of the General Laws. MAR has drafted language that you may use to satisfy the conditions of this emergency order.

Submitting this addendum to the local fire department within 72-hours of the agreement being signed by the parties ensures that properties transferred during the state of emergency complete this important safety inspection; however, the agents involved in the transaction, the closing attorney, and the buyer should have a discussion of who notifies the fire department, no matter whether the addendum is used if an inspection did not take place prior to the closing.

In order to comply with the order:

  • The parties to the sale or transfer have agreed in writing that the buyer assumes responsibility for equipping the property with approved smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • The buyer agrees as a condition of taking title to equip the property with approved smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms immediately upon taking title.
  • An inspection as otherwise required under sections 26F and 26F½ occurs no more than 90 days after the state of emergency is lifted.

Buyers and their REALTORS® have raised concerns about the costs that may be affiliated with bringing a home into compliance. The financial concern may be alleviated by negotiating a credit or a holdback for the buyer to apply towards the costs, if any, of replacing the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The parties may also agree to use a third-party company for an unofficial inspection to determine what upgrades, if any, are required by Mass. General Laws Chapter 148, Sections 26F and 26F½ and to have the seller make any upgrades based on that inspection. This should be negotiated between the buyer and the seller.

The Fire Prevention Association of MA and MAR coordinated a survey to compile a list of local fire department contacts. To view the list and for more information on this topic, click here.