The most important facts about smoke detectors in rental apartments

In many German states, smoke detectors are now mandatory in rental apartments. The individual regulations largely correspond to each other, we inform about the legal basis as well as about the assembly of the devices.

For which rental apartments does the smoke detector requirement apply?

The obligation to smoke detectors is regulated by the Federal State, in some countries the legal regulation is still in preparation. The following common features exist in all the guidelines that have already come into force:

  • A basic smoke detector requirement applies to all new and converted buildings, retroactively from a certain date between 2003 (Rhineland-Palatinate) and 2013 (Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg).
  • For existing older apartments there is a retrofit period between 2014 (Baden-Württemberg) and 2018 (Thuringia).
  • The obligation to smoke detectors in rental apartments always applies to certain premises, especially for bedrooms, children's rooms, corridors, escape routes and lounges.
  • Responsible for the installation is mostly the owner, in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern the owner (tenant) of an apartment.

Who bears the costs for the smoke detectors?

For rented apartments, the landlord initially assumes the costs of purchasing and installing the smoke detectors. However, he may transfer a certain percentage of it to the annual rent.

However, smoke detectors do not cost much in most cases. Cheap models are already between 3 and 7 EUR per piece to have. For particularly high-quality models, the landlord pays up to about 30 EUR.

Landlords or tenants hand in on assembly, both parties save themselves the installation costs. Smoke detectors in rental apartments are therefore not very expensive - but in an emergency, all the more valuable.

Who is responsible for maintenance?

This question is answered differently in the individual federal states. Some countries blame the owner for the maintenance, others the tenant.

Legally, the question of accountability is currently in limbo. A maintenance obligation completely transferred to the tenant may not completely relieve the owner of the responsibility. Pay attention to current legal judgments!

Tips & Tricks

As a landlord, make sure that your tenant is physically and psychologically able to service the smoke detectors in his home before you transfer responsibility to him. Otherwise you should better check the devices regularly yourself.

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