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Fire protection guide Smoke detector obligation in all federal states

We have compiled the most important facts about the smoke detector obligation for you.

In this part of our ABUS fire protection guide, you will find information on the following topics:

When we slumber, they stay awake: Smoke alarms let us sleep more soundly and warn us of dangerous fire smoke in an emergency.

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The smoke detector obligation for private living space is therefore extremely sensible. It applies in all 16 federal states for rented and owner-occupied housing. Good thing! Because the study "Effectiveness of the smoke alarm obligation" from 2020 shows: Smoke alarms reduce the number of fire victims. Since the introduction of mandatory smoke alarms, 500 lives have been saved.

But who is responsible for installation and maintenance? What dates and rules apply in connection with the smoke detector obligation? We have compiled the most important facts for you.

What applies in which federal state?

In the individual federal states, the state building codes regulate the smoke detector obligation for existing buildings and new buildings. You can find more information here

State New buildings Existing buildings
Baden-Württemberg since 2013 since 01.01.2015
Bayern since 2013 since 01.01.2018
Berlin since 2017 since 01.01.2021
Brandenburg since 2016 since 01.01.2021
Bremen since 2010 since 01.01.2016
Hamburg since 2006 since 01.01.2011
Hessen since 2005 since 01.01.2015
Mecklenburg- Vorpommern since 2006 since 01.01.2010
Niedersachsen since 2012 since 01.01.2016
Nordrhein- Westfalen since 2013 since 01.01.2017
Rheinland- Pfalz since 2003 since 01.01.2012
Saarland since 2004 since 01.01.2017
Sachsen since 2016 at the latest 31.01.2023
Sachsen- Anhalt since 2009 since 01.01.2016
Schleswig-Holstein since 2005 since 01.01.2011
Thüringen seit 2008 since 01.01.2019

Source: Forum Brandrauchprävention e.V. 

The fact that the state building codes assign the duty to maintain smoke detectors to tenants in nine federal states is of no legal significance. This is because federal law determines the division of responsibilities between landlord and tenant. In the case of maintenance, therefore, tenancy law, which is regulated in the German Civil Code, applies. Accordingly, the landlord is obliged to keep the smoke detectors ready for operation - i.e. to maintain them. However, according to tenancy law, tenants and landlords can reach an individual agreement on installation and maintenance. If the owner uses his living space himself, he must equip the house or flat with smoke detectors and keep them operational.

It is not clear from the building regulations who bears the costs for the installation of smoke detectors. An owner who uses his living space himself also bears the costs. Anyone who rents out their house or a flat can pass these on to the rent as investment costs on a pro rata basis. The maintenance costs can also be transferred to the tenant as operating costs - if this is contractually regulated.

In all federal states, landlords and property owners are obliged to install smoke detectors in the following rooms:

  • Children's rooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Apartment corridors that serve as escape routes and escape routes 

In Brandenburg and Berlin, the obligation also applies to workrooms and living rooms. Outside of flats and apartment buildings, only in Baden-Württemberg does another regulation apply: Here, smoke detectors must also be installed in all rooms in which people sleep as intended.

ABUS Smoke detector:

What many people do not know: The useful everyday helpers must be replaced after ten years at the latest.

After all, their components are also ageing - the batteries often have a life span of ten years, some only last three to five years. Here, owners or landlords must therefore replace the fire detectors in good time. And also independent of the smoke detector obligation in private living spaces: anyone who owns a ten-year-old device should replace it quickly. An investment that can save lives in case of fire! If you do not know how old your device is, you can usually find the date of manufacture on the smoke detector.

Smoke detectors must be serviced at least once a year - regardless of the federal state in which you live. The application standard DIN 14676 regulates the details:

"The functionality of each installed smoke alarm must be checked regularly and ensured by maintenance measures. The smoke alarm device shall be subjected to inspection, maintenance and functional testing of the warning signals in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions, but at least once every 12 months, with a fluctuation margin of no more than +- 3 months. The results of the inspection and measures shall be documented."

(Source: DIN14676 - 6.1. Allgemeines [6. Instandhaltung]

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