Can You Sell a House Without Smoke Detectors In Colorado?

smoke and carbon monoxide detector installation

A significant number of houses don’t have smoke detectors, not because the owners have a particular aversion to safety, but rather because it was not a thing back when the house was built or bought from the previous owner.

With technological advancements and improved public safety awareness, fire alarms are slowly being legislated into building codes and have become a requirement in many places.

If you own one of these old houses and need to relocate, you must be feeling shortchanged at having to upgrade them to standards you did not find. You must ask yourself if you can sell the house without smoke detectors, just like you bought it. 

Can You Sell a House Without Smoke Detectors

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Yes, You Can Sell a House Without Smoke Detectors

you can Sell a House Without Smoke Detectors

However, it’s not always possible, and it could actually land you in trouble in some jurisdictions. In some states, counties and/or municipalities, a sale transaction can’t be closed without confirmation that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors have been properly installed.

The property might be subjected to a pre-sale inspection by the local housing department, or they will require a valid smoke detector certificate from your local fire department. Any shortfall will have to be brought up to code before finalizing the sale in these jurisdictions.

Are smoke detectors required in Colorado? Yes. They are required in every residential dwelling or sleeping unit, including single-family homes. If you’re in Denver and doesn’t have the time to install one, and you want to sell, might as well consider in getting a cash offer now by cash buyers.

smoke and carbon monoxide detector

Understanding Smoke Detector Requirements

how to Sell a House Without Smoke Detectors

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is the leading authority on fire, electrical and related hazards in the United States. 

They publish codes and standards aimed at minimizing the probability of a fire incident, mitigating its effects when it occurs and other related risks. It is a great place to start if you want to be on the same page with your state fire marshal once you list your house.

The NFPA Code 72 specifically captures the fundamentals of fire alarms and signaling systems. It updates the most current safety provisions with regard to the society’s dynamic fire detection, signaling and emergency communication demands.

The code is focused more on life safety than the protection of property. The current version requires the installation of a smoke detector next to cooking appliances, on each level of the house—attic and basement included—and on the inside and outside of every bedroom.

Sell Colorado House no Smoke Detectors

While most states and local governments refer to NFPA codes in legislation, they are not obliged to adopt the whole code as it is. The extent to which NFPA codes are adopted varies from one state, county or municipality to another. 

A house that can be sold in one neighborhood might not be sellable in another without some modification.

Some states will require a working smoke alarm in all sleeping areas and the hallways when the bedrooms are adjacent. Others simply require that a dwelling unit has an unspecified number of smoke detectors, while some leave it for the local bylaws to determine.

Smoke detectors with dual photoelectric and ionization have also become popular and are featured more in ordinances because of their wholesomeness. They are equally sensitive to flames as they are to smoldering fires.

If you are irritated by these nuisance alarms, remember they are there for public safety.

Finding Out If Your Local Regulations Allow You to Sell the House Without Smoke Detectors

Sell House no Smoke Detectors for cash

A good understanding of the prevailing smoke detector requirements in your location will help structure the sale process to mitigate avoidable delays. Keeping in mind that the longer the listing stays in the market, the harder it is to sell, you will want to bring the house up to code as soon as possible.

Due to the dynamic nature of building code requirements and ordinances, you may need to consult specialized stakeholders to keep up.

Engage Your Resident Real Estate Agent

A local realtor is more than an expert in building codes and requirements. They are also exposed to real estate dynamics in the area and will have encountered ordinances and restrictions (if any) that are unique to the neighborhood. They make it easy to stay compliant for a smooth sale.

Consult the Home Inspector

They have been to several showings throughout the city, and it is their verdict that investors rely on when buying and selling houses. 

They are a great resource for information and will even show you where and how to install smoke alarms to comply with the local fire safety regulations if it is a closing requirement.

Reach Out to Your Local Building Department or City Hall

There should be a record of all the bylaws enforced here. Your questions will be answered, or you will be referred to someone who can answer them. Their websites may also contain information on the requirements to sell the house and other additional resources.

standpipe sprinkler

Why Do You Need a Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector?

You are probably thinking about how you have made it through the last couple of years just fine with only your fire extinguisher as a backup. You still don’t understand why you must install an entire fire alarm system just because you want to sell the house.

Your state fire marshal, on the other hand, has other ideas. They think you have just been lucky and should have that alarm hardwired to your main electricity as soon as possible. Here is why.

Smoke detectors are the first line of defense from avoidable fatalities, injuries and destruction of property by fire. 

Thousands of fatalities and immeasurable damages are attributed to fires in the United States every year. A smoke detector alerts you to the presence of the fire before it becomes unmanageable, while your fire extinguisher can still handle it.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is another scary cause of death because it sneaks up on you. Your human sensory organs won’t be able to detect it until it’s too late, which is why you need to install a carbon monoxide detector in the house.

A fire alarm system ensures your buyers or tenants are spared unnecessary exposure to fire damage and will give the house an advantage in the market because buyers can envision living in it.

Why Are Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors Imposed on the Sale of a House?

Sell House no carbon monoxide detectors

It is easy to impose safety requirements on new houses because you will withhold the certificate of occupancy until the contractor complies. 

However, many homes that don’t meet the current housing code standards for carbon dioxide alarms are old houses built to code at the time of construction.

It can be overbearing to homeowners to list these as violations simply because they have been overtaken by cutting-edge technology. 

Unless they pose an immediate safety issue, the authorities usually let them be until they are listed for sale. The ownership transition presents an avenue for bringing them up to code and enhancing public safety.

The code makes you commit to installing smoke alarms in compliance with the latest regulations adopted in your location. 

The obligation is triggered at the point of sale when you sign the sale and purchase agreement. You are then obliged to install the smoke alarm if it doesn’t already exist or upgrade it to the standards set by the current code.

It is an opportunity to replace the battery or install a battery backup for battery-powered smoke alarms and to unearth fake alarms as they will be tested during an inspection. Those that are not working have to be replaced before closing.

It also provides an opportunity to upgrade to the latest technology that is more efficient. For instance, hardwired smoke alarms can be replaced with hardwired photoelectric smoke detectors with heightened sensitivity. 

Some futuristic models can even connect to your smartphone and transmit alerts about fires. You are prompted to seek help from the fire department even when you are not home.


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