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Alert: Schedule your Boston smoke detector inspections now

Posted by Rona Fischman May 3, 2012 02:04 PM

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Bill Kuhlman, CRS, who is the broker/owner of Kuhlman Residential heard that it is taking an unusually long time to get the required smoke detector certificates in Boston this year.

Anyone who’s been to the homebuying rodeo often enough knows that whenever the real estate market picks up, buyers and agents should allow extra lead time when writing in the deadlines for the inspection contingency with their offer. This is so they’ll be more likely to schedule the home inspector of their choice and arrange for other inspections without having to ask the seller for an extension. But something extraordinary is happening in the City of Boston right now that sellers and their agents should be aware of.

I heard at a Boston Caucus meeting for MAR yesterday that the Boston Fire Department is currently booking smoke and carbon monoxide detector inspections a minimum of 21 days in advance. Normally I would expect to schedule this inspection in Boston within 7 to10 days of submitting the application and payment.

As I understand it, it’s not simply a matter of greater-than-usual demand. There’s a confluence of many factors, including some short-term infrastructure issues at the BFD, contributing to this extraordinary delay. The wait time may come back closer to springtime norms soon, but right now you need to plan ahead.

The reason this is a big deal is that you cannot close on a home purchase in Massachusetts without certification from the local fire department that the property has working smoke detectors of the approved types and in the proper locations. If you don’t have a “smoke cert” from an inspection performed in less than 60 days prior to the closing, you can’t close.

So until the situation changes, if you have a pending closing for a property in the City of Boston, make sure you allow plenty of time before the closing to get the smoke detector inspection. Outside of Boston, it should still be attainable within a week or two, but this is something you should never put off until the last minute, anyway.

For more information, or to apply for a smoke detector inspection in Boston, call the BFD at 617 343-3627, or visit.

Buyers and sellers, have you ever had your purchase or sale held hostage to the fire department, health department, water department, tax assessor's office or other municipal authority?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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