Should I Sign the Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector Affidavit at Closing?
If you are selling real estate in Connecticut, your closing attorney may ask you whether you plan on signing a document called “Affidavit Concerning Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors” (the “Affidavit”).
Where does the Affidavit come from?
The Affidavit is the result of a law effective as of July, 2014, which was enacted to stress the importance of having properly installed and working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in residential properties and requires, in most circumstances, for the Seller of property to either provide the Affidavit or give the Buyer a credit of $250.
What does the Affidavit say?
About smoke detectors, a Seller is asked to confirm the smoke detectors in the house are:
- In working order;
- Capable of sensing visible or invisible smoke particles;
- Installed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and in the immediate vicinity of each bedroom; and,
- Capable of providing an alarm suitable to warn occupants when the detectors are activated.
Regarding carbon monoxide detectors, a Seller must confirm the carbon monoxide detectors are:
- In working order;
- Capable of sensing carbon monoxide present in parts per million;
- Installed in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions; and,
- Capable of providing an alarm suitable to warn occupants
Is anyone exempt?
There are certain exempt transactions, but, for the most part, Sellers will be required to give the affidavit or the credit. The primary exemption relates to homes of a newer construction. Sellers of homes built after October 1, 2005, are exempt from completing the Affidavit. Instead, they just need to check off the box under Section A and sign the form in the presence of a notary or their attorney. This exemption is afforded to sellers of newer homes because the State Building Code required hard wired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as of that date.
Should I sign the Affidavit?
Although the decision is ultimately up to the sellers and can vary in any individual circumstance, the real estate attorneys at Bayer & Black, P.C. generally recommend against signing the Affidavit.
In the event you provide the Affidavit and a future incident occurs (i.e. fire or death/incapacitation from carbon monoxide poisoning) you may be sued by or on behalf of the buyers. The sellers’ potential liability to the buyers would likely far exceed $250. While it is uncertain whether any liability would attach to the delivery of the affidavit, the risks far outweigh the benefit of saving the $250 credit to the Buyer.
If you have any questions about the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors Affidavit, or other questions relating to real estate law, the lawyers at Bayer & Black, P.C. can help. Contact us!.