As if owning property isn’t expensive enough, Real Property Alliance is tracking a bill in the Illinois General Assembly which would require many Illinoisans to buy new smoke detectors or face penalties.
SB 2837 would require any Illinois property owner with a dwelling that was built before 1988 to install a smoke detector which would operate with a battery capable of lasting at least 10 years. It wouldn’t matter that a homeowner had a perfectly functioning smoke detector with a nine-volt battery, the law still mandates buying a new device.
The cost? According to a review of online retailers, the devices can cost anywhere from $16 to more than $50. And millions of property owners would have to make the change since much of the state’s housing stock dates from 1988 or earlier.
It’s all part of the nickel and dime policy approach you find all too often in Illinois. While smoke detectors do save lives, there’s no reason a perfectly good and properly maintained detector using a nine-volt battery will work just as well.
At least nine states have laws mandating the 10-year battery change. One of the latest to require it was New York, but that state allowed a phased-in process. In other words, property owners would not have to go out and replace the devices immediately to be in compliance. When the device stopped working, the replacement would have to be one with a 10-year battery.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. Ira Silverstein, D-Chicago, and awaits action in the Senate Public Health Committee.