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Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector Act
by Mel Metts
On May 8, 2006, the Governor signed into law House Bill 5284 (Public Act 94-741). This legislation created a new Act, the Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector Act, to mandate that every dwelling unit be equipped with at least one approved carbon monoxide alarm in an operating condition within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping purposes.
The new law does exempt certain residential units from the requirement. Those residential units in a building that (i) does not rely on combustion of fossil fuel for heat, ventilation or hot water ; (ii) is not connected in any way to a garage; and (iii) is not sufficiently close to any ventilated source of carbon monoxide as determined by the local building commissioner to receive carbon monoxide from that source OR a residential unit that is not sufficiently close to any source of carbon monoxide so as to be at risk of receiving carbon monoxide from that source, as determined by the local building commissioner shall NOT require carbon monoxide detectors.
Public Act 094-0741
HB5284 Enrolled LRB094 17775 LCT 53074 b
AN ACT concerning safety.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly:
Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector Act.
Section 5. Definitions. In this Act:
"Approved carbon monoxide alarm" or "alarm" means a carbon monoxide alarm that complies with all the requirements of the rules and regulations of the Illinois State Fire Marshal, bears the label of a nationally recognized testing laboratory, and complies with the most recent standards of the Underwriters Laboratories or the Canadian Standard Association.
"Dwelling unit" means a room or suite of rooms used for human habitation, and includes a single family residence as well as each living unit of a multiple family residence and each living unit in a mixed use building.
Section 10. Carbon monoxide detector.
(a) Every dwelling unit shall be equipped with at least one approved carbon monoxide alarm in an operating condition within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping purposes. The carbon monoxide alarm may be combined with smoke detecting devices provided that the combined unit complies with the respective provisions of the administrative code, reference standards, and departmental rules relating to both smoke detecting devices and carbon monoxide alarms and provided that the combined unit emits an alarm in a manner that clearly differentiates the hazard.
(b) Every structure that contains more than one dwelling unit shall contain at least one approved carbon monoxide alarm in operating condition within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping purposes.
(c) It is the responsibility of the owner of a structure to supply and install all required alarms. It is the responsibility of a tenant to test and to provide general maintenance for the alarms within the tenant's dwelling unit or rooming unit, and to notify the owner or the authorized agent of the owner in writing of any deficiencies that the tenant cannot correct.
The owner is responsible for providing one tenant per dwelling unit with written information regarding alarm testing and maintenance.
The tenant is responsible for replacement of any required batteries in the carbon monoxide alarms in the tenant's dwelling unit, except that the owner shall ensure that the batteries are in operating condition at the time the tenant takes possession of the dwelling unit. The tenant shall provide the owner or the authorized agent of the owner with access to the dwelling unit to correct any deficiencies in the carbon monoxide alarm that have been reported in writing to the owner or the authorized agent of the owner.
(d) The carbon monoxide alarms required under this Act may be either battery powered, plug-in with battery back-up, or wired into the structure's AC power line with secondary battery back-up.
Section 15. Violation.
(a) Willful failure to install or maintain in operating condition any carbon monoxide alarm required by this Act is a Class B misdemeanor.
(b) Tampering with, removing, destroying, disconnecting, or removing the batteries from any installed carbon monoxide alarm, except in the course of inspection, maintenance, or replacement of the alarm, is a Class A misdemeanor in the case of a first conviction and a Class 4 felony in the case of a second or subsequent conviction.
Section 20. Exemptions. The following residential units shall not require carbon monoxide detectors:
(1) A residential unit in a building that: (i) does not rely on combustion of fossil fuel for heat, ventilation, or hot water; (ii) is not connected in any way to a garage; and (iii) is not sufficiently close to any ventilated source of carbon monoxide, as determined by the local building commissioner, to receive carbon monoxide from that source.
(2) A residential unit that is not sufficiently close to any source of carbon monoxide so as to be at risk of receiving carbon monoxide from that source, as determined by the local building commissioner.
Note that the law makes no distinction between owner-occupied property and rental property; it applies to all residential property, except as noted.
If your building is all-electric (electric heating, cooking, water heater, no gas or woodburning fireplaces) and has no attached garage, it may be exempt. It may not be exempt, however, if you store a lawn mower, snowblower or other items with internal combustion engines in the building. Check with your local building commissioner.
If a rental, the owner is responsible for providing one tenant per dwelling unit with written information regarding alarm testing and maintenance. Don't forget to keep the operating instructions, so you can give a copy to a tenant in each rental unit.
The law goes into effect on January 1, 2007.
We are encountering building commissioners who refuse to exempt any property, even those all-electric apartment buildings, because they fear liability issues if anyone is ever harmed by CO in the building. Wimps!