|Posted:||June 24, 2021 12:08 PM|
|From:||Representative Brian Sims and Rep. Jessica Benham|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Mandating Visual Smoke Detectors, Fire Alarms, and Carbon Monoxide Detectors for Properties Rented by a Deaf or Hard of Hearing Tenant|
|As part of the Pennsylvania fire code, fire alarms and smoke detectors are required in all rental properties, and carbon monoxide detectors are required in all multi-family rental properties with a fossil fuel burning heater, fireplace, or an attached garage. These requirements save countless lives a year, but the commonly used auditory alarms are not helpful for all Pennsylvanians. For those who are deaf or hard of hearing, visual or vibrating alarms are needed to properly alert them to a potentially life-threatening danger, but unfortunately, these are not currently mandated to be in rental properties by Pennsylvania Law. This lack of protection creates a very hazardous situation for many tenants. I was first alerted to this issue when my office spoke to a constituent who was concerned by the fact that he woke up to firefighters outside of his house when the auditory smoke detector his landlord installed failed to wake him up because he was hard of hearing.
Though the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 should provide for this protection, enforcement is difficult, and tenants often do not have the financial resources or time to pursue ADA compliance. The cost of installing these essential detectors and alarms themselves can be prohibitive towards many as well, and the Commonwealth must close this loophole by updating the Landlord and Tenant Act to provide for mandatory installation of fire alarms, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors. We know how important these lifesaving detectors and alarms are in our homes, and it time for our legislature to extend this same right to safety and security to all Pennsylvanians.
Introduced as HB1804