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SELLER ALERT: New Penalties for Failing to Install Smoke Detectors Effective July 1, 2019.

In May 2019, the Washington State Legislature enacted SSSB 5284, which substantially changes Fire Protection law and takes effect July 1, 2019. These changes apply to Sellers of all dwelling units. A Dwelling Unit is defined as a single unit providing complete, independent living facilities for one or more persons including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.

The major changes resulting from this law are summarized as follows:

  • The Seller of every dwelling unit must provide at least one smoke detection device in the dwelling unit before the buyer or any other person occupies it.
  • Any Seller failing to have at least one smoke detection device in the dwelling unit can be punished with a fine of up to Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00).
  • In the event a Seller fails to provide a smoke detection device in a dwelling unit, and subsequent to the sale a fire causes property damage, personal injury, or death to someone in the household, the Seller can be fined Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00).
  • Real Estate brokers licensed under RCW 18.85 are not liable in any proceeding for a Seller’s failure to comply with the requirements of this law.
  • The smoke detection requirements will be enforced by the chief of the fire department if the property is within a city or town; or the county fire marshal or other fire official if the property is located within unincorporated areas of a county.

The full statute language can be found in RCW 43.44.110.

Under this new Fire Protection law, it is recommended that Sellers update their Seller’s Disclosures Form to include whether the property is equipped with at least one smoke detection device.

Please contact Seth Woolson at Chmelik Sitkin & Davis P.S. if you have questions about your Seller’s Disclosures Form or need assistance.