The smoke detector requirement in NRW: all important details

NRW is more of a laggard when it comes to the smoke detector duty. On April 1, 2013, the state legislature passed the relevant law. What exactly do the regulations in this state say?

Smoke detector obligation in NRW: Which rooms are affected?

Since 2013, the NRW state building regulations stipulate that smoke detectors must be installed in all apartments in this federal state. She also specifically names the affected rooms:

  • nursery
  • all bedrooms
  • also living rooms, which are regularly used for sleeping
  • Corridors that serve as an escape route in an emergency
  • open staircases inside an apartment

Thus, the living room, kitchen, bathroom, cellar and work space are exempt from the obligation. However, it makes sense for the residents, at least some of these rooms also equipped with smoke detectors, for extra security.

Does smoke detector duty in NRW also apply to old buildings?

For new buildings and alterations, the law will apply from the date of issue, 1 April 2013. However, the owners of old and existing buildings will not be required to do so. The transition period will expire on 1 January 2017.

Who needs to install and maintain the smoke detectors?

The owner of each apartment is required to purchase and install the appropriate number of devices. Rented flats are therefore the landlord who is called to act.

For the maintenance of the immediate owner, in tenements so the tenant, responsible. He also bears all the costs involved, for example, for the purchase of new batteries. If a smoke detector is defective, however, the landlord must pay for a new device.

The "immediate owner" may also be a tenant, owner-occupier, or other beneficial owner. This is all about who currently has the apartment or lives in it.

May the landlord hire a housing company for maintenance?

Were in an apartment before the entry into force of smoke detectors in NRW on 1 April 2013 appropriate equipment installed, which were maintained by a contracted housing company, this may remain so.

In all other cases, the landlord or a company commissioned by him may only take over the maintenance of the smoke detectors with the express permission of the tenants. To legally secure this agreement, both parties should contractually retain it.

Which position does the smoke detector belong to?

Before attaching smoke detectors, first read the respective installation instructions. In addition, there are general rules that should be followed during installation to ensure reliable operation:

  • Install a smoke detector at a minimum distance of 50 cm to the wall
  • Also keep at least 50 cm distance from joists and high furniture
  • best choose the center of the room
  • Rooms with more than 60 square meters need more smoke detectors
  • in angled and very high rooms is also more than a device
  • Always install smoke detectors horizontally, even on sloping roofs
  • in pointed attic rooms, mount the device 50 to 100 cm away from the rooftop
  • In multi-storey staircases, each hall floor is provided with at least one smoke detector
  • keep enough distance from the stove in the kitchen to avoid false alarms
  • Do not mount the smoke detector in draft areas

Which smoke detectors may be installed?

Not only in NRW, but in the whole Federal Republic applies: smoke detectors must meet certain conditions in order to be approved for use in private homes. The devices must comply with the requirements of DIN EN 14604 and bear a CE mark.

The smoke detector requirement in NRW does not say anything about whether the devices should be operated with batteries or via the mains. That's why the use of battery-powered smoke detectors is sufficient.

Even networked smoke detectors are allowed, they even increase security. However, the user should be careful to be able to quickly locate the alarming detector in the event of a fire, either through a mute switch or a central receiver.

May existing smoke detectors continue to be used?

If smoke detectors are already installed in a dwelling, the dwelling owner must first of all make sure of their proper condition. If all devices comply with the official standard, are correctly positioned and ready for use, they do not need to be replaced.

However, the owner may in any case replace the old devices with new ones if he so wishes. That must allow the tenant. If the old appliances belong to the home user, of course they remain in his possession.

Is additional equipment required for the hearing impaired?

According to current legislation, the homes of the hearing impaired are to be equipped only with the standard equipment. There is no obligation to install special equipment for hearing-impaired tenants, but of course the dwelling user may equip themselves accordingly.

Tips & Tricks

In case of battery failure, the standard smoke detectors will signal with a regular beep. You will have at least thirty days to change the batteries, but it is best to react as soon as possible.

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