March 25, 2014
Did you know that Pennsylvania leads the nation in carbon monoxide poisonings and deaths?
Currently, the Pennsylvania building code only requires carbon monoxide alarms in newly constructed homes. Now, Pennsylvania has a new law that requires each unit in a multi-family building with a fossil fuel burning heater or fireplace, or an attached garage, to have carbon monoxide alarms. The alarm(s) must be installed near the heater, fireplace and bedroom(s) by June 18, 2015. The owner/landlord of a multi-family dwelling used for rental purposes must install the alarm(s) in the required locations, and repair or replace any that are removed or inoperable before a new occupancy. During occupancy, the renter is responsible for repair and replacement of the alarm(s). Upon vacancy of the dwelling, responsibility for repair and replacement reverts back to the owner/landlord.
It is unclear whether the new law applies to a condominium association as an “owner” of a multi-family dwelling. However, the requirements were intended to be similar to those for smoke detectors. Therefore, we believe it will apply to condominium associations, and we recommend that associations now at least notify unit owners of these new requirements. Hopefully, before the 2015 compliance date, the legal obligation of condominium associations under this law will be clarified. Since this is a life-safety issue, regardless of this uncertainty, condominium associations may now decide to assume the responsibility to install and maintain carbon monoxide alarm(s) in individual units, rather than expect it to be done by the unit owners.
We will continue to monitor this matter and advise you of any developments. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.