CREIA warns that working smoke detectors are the concern of everyone in the real estate transaction


July 2004 (Palm Springs, Calif) –— The California Real Estate Inspection Association ( wants homeowners, homebuyers and their real estate representatives to be aware that the disclosure and transfer of proper working smoke detectors is the responsibility of all. As the oldest and largest state home inspection professional association in the country, CREIA is concerned about the fire hazard of nonworking and faulty smoke detectors.

Smoke detectorIt is because of the high priority we place on a home’s occupants and their safety that a professional home inspector will report on the presence, absence, and location of smoke detectors in a home. However, a home inspector’s report is a generalist’s overview of the property’s systems and components at the time of the inspection. Since it is not unusual for a period of time (and sometimes an extensive period of time) to pass between when the inspection occurred and when a buyer (or subsequent purchaser) takes possession of the property, it is unwise and unsafe for a home inspector to report on the working status of smoke detectors present. Such a report could create a dangerous sense of “false security” about the condition of the detector.

It is imperative that those present at the final walkthrough — before the keys are turned over — make sure the smoke detectors are working. California law requires the seller to transfer a home with proper working smoke detectors. The seller and the buyer are required to sign the Smoke Detector Statement of Compliance (available from the California Association of REALTORS® at prior to close of escrow. The homebuyer, homeowner and their real estate representatives need to make sure that this law is complied with prior to the completion of the sale at the final walkthrough.

CREIA remains firmly committed to looking out for the health and safety of homeowners. It is because we place such a high priority on the lives of those who will inhabit a home, that we urge all home sellers, buyers and their real estate agents to take a proactive role in complying with this important legal requirement. CREIA inspectors will continue to comment on the presence, absence, and location of smoke detectors in a home, but the working condition of this important home component must be looked after by those involved at the final transfer.

To locate a qualified inspector near you, call CREIA at (800) 388-8443, or visit their website at Since 1976, CREIA, a non-profit voluntary membership organization has been providing education, training, and support services to the real estate inspection industry and to the public. Inspectors must adhere to CREIA's Code of Ethics and follow the Standards of Practice developed by the association. These Standards of Practice have been recognized by the State of California, and are considered the source for home inspector Standard of Care by the real estate and legal communities.

CREIA requires its members to successfully pass a comprehensive written examination of property systems and complete 30 hours of continuing education each year. Members can accumulate credits through various sources of education including monthly chapter meetings, conferences, and other approved activities. CREIA keeps records to ensure that members are complying with the requirements. Educational topics cover a variety of technical subjects including updates and advances affecting the profession of real estate inspection. CREIA is dedicated to consumer protection and education.