Carbon Monoxide Detector Regs: August Update

Does it feel like the saga of the Seattle carbon monoxide detector regulations just won’t end? We’ve been following the story with the help of our friends at WMFHA since the very beginning; this month, we have an update for you.

It started with new legislation in 2009, with a target deadline of January 2013; but recently, it seemed that the State Building Code Council might be considering an extension of that deadline. WMFHA–and the City of Seattle–weren’t sure exactly what the SBCC was indicating. So the City asked the SBCC for clarification; here’s what they found out.

On June 22 the SBCC…stated that the deadline imposed by the state legislation is firm and final. All rental units must have CO alarms installed by January 1, 2013. It does not matter whether there is a source of carbon monoxide in the unit.

Only the SBCC, it turns out, is capable of making exceptions to this deadline–and to date, the only exceptions they have made are for certain hotels and college dorms; there are no exceptions currently in place for any apartments or other rental units.

WMFHA explains that while there are no plans for door-to-door inspections or other means  of widespread inspection for currently established rental housing, units without CO2 monitors will leave landlords at risk if carbon monoxide poisoning does occur, for instance from a gas grill brought indoors during a winter power outage. “To avoid such possibilities, the best course is to install the CO alarms by January 1, 2013,” WMFHA states.

Of course, with landlord-tenant law, it’s not over ’til it’s over…and WMFHA and other landlord groups will fight in the legislature to extend the deadline as it draws closer. Until then, landlords should plan for the scenario that the deadline will indeed prove to be final–and prepare accordingly.

Check out the links below for more information, including the whitepage update from WMFHA, a related post on, and a link to the actual regulations from the SBCC.

More information:


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