Texas Property Code Smoke Detector Requirements for Residential Leased Property

Smoke Detectors

You need a working smoke detector for the safety of you and your family.

Section 92.254 of the Texas Property Code requires a working smoke detector in each rental unit. The smoke detector must be able to detect both visible and invisible products of combustion. The smoke detector, which is installed must be “tested and listed for use as a smoke detector by Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., Factory Mutual Research Corp, or the United States Testing Company.”

Section 92.255, specifies where the smoke detectors shall be installed “outside, but in the vicinity of, each separate bedroom.”

As with most any law there are exceptions.

For dwellings which are a single room residence, (bedroom suite, sleeping area is a combination den and living room, etc…) the smoke detector “must be located inside the room.” Two story homes with at least one bedroom above the living and cooking area, requires the smoke detector to be centered on the “ceiling directly above the stairway.”

Section 92.260, A tenant may have a remedy against a landlord who is liable by not installing a smoke detector under Section 92.259. The tenant may get a court order directing the landlord comply, obtain a civil judgment of one month’s rent plus $100.00 if the landlord violates Section 92.259 (a) (2), plus court costs , attorney’s fees, and even unilaterally terminate the lease.

Section 92.261 provides the landlord with defenses to a tenant’s demands for a smoke detector or notice that the tenant is terminating the lease. If a tenant owes rent, or costs from the tenants damaging the smoke detectors (ยง92.258) the landlord has a defense against the tenants claim.

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