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LawHelpNow, Attorney/Lawyer
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I live in an apartment with commercial property below, the

Customer Question

I live in an apartment with commercial property below, the smoke dector for the one aparment when off tonight, our detectors did not go off. We heard a weird noise, my daughter thought it was my tv, I thought it was the detectors to the building next door to us, we open our front door to flashing lights and sirens blaring in the hall way! If we had been sleeping we would have never known that they were going off. Any where else I have ever lived if one dectector went off they all went off. What are the rules and regulations for Massachusetts. My Landlord is ticked off that I called the fire dept., because we didn't know why they were going off. I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask.?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ellen replied 8 years ago.

Consider contacting the building department for an inspection. Tell them that you believe that the property is not up to Code and may be hazardous. They can come in and inspect.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
I cannot accept your answer, it does not help me at all, in our area the fire department is incharge of inspecting building, hence the issue with the landlord brother being on the department board. If you could come up with the laws that pertain to my problem then I will accept.
Expert:  Ellen replied 8 years ago.
I will opt out so that another expert can assist you.
Expert:  LawHelpNow replied 8 years ago.

Hello and thanks so much for choosing this forum to pose your important legal question. I will do my best to give you some honest and accurate guidance as I answer your question.


  1. I am a licensed attorney, and I will be glad to try and answer your question seeing another legal expert has chosen to opt out. I hope that the following information will be helpful to you, but please just write back if you have any follow-up questions or need clarification on anything after reviewing the following information. I am sorry for all you have been through, and I hope that everything gets resolved appropriately in this situation.
  2. The landlord-tenant laws are codified in the General Laws of Massachusetts chapter 186. More specifically, given your situation, chapter 186, § 19 imposes upon the landlord a statutory duty to correct unsafe conditions and also affords you with a tort law cause of action for his failure thereunder. I think you might also find The Attorney General's Guide to Landlord/Tenant Rights to be a helpful guide.


I hope that this information has been helpful to you. If we can be of any further assistance please free to use our service again. Best wishes for a successful outcome.

If my answer has been helpful to you, please click "ACCEPT" so that I may be paid. This is the only way that I will receive compensation for the work performed. Please consider clicking "BONUS" as a nice way of saying "thanks" for a job well done. Clicking "FEEDBACK" to leave your positive comments is always greatly appreciated.

The information provided is general in nature only and should not be construed as legal advice. By using this forum, you acknowledge that no attorney-client relationship has been created between you and Benjamin M. Burt, Jr., Esq. You should always consult with a lawyer in your state.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Again, I already had that information, that was the first thing I checked was MGL's it does not specify anything about how or where the smoke detectors have to be located and if they all have to be wired together so that when one goes off they all go off. This is the problem we have smoke sensors in our apartment but not alarms so when the hallway alarm went off, it was more than 15 mins. before we realized what it was and if we had been asleep, we never would have heard them. I need the specifics of smoke detector codes, laws etc.
Expert:  LawHelpNow replied 8 years ago.

Hello there and thanks for writing back. I will be glad to comment further.


I have searched through the local regulations (codes and ordinances) available online. Unfortunately, none of them address your specific situation. They do address smoke detectors, but just in the context of building permits which is not of particular help here. I also researched through four sites that carry local city and county codes and ordinances:

  • Municipal Code Corporation
  • American Legal Publishing Corporation
  • Sterling Codifiers
  • Code Publishing, Inc.

    There is fairly good coverage for Massachusetts; unfortunately, however, none of them cover Leicester. However, I think that the most helpful provision will actually be a state statute, in particular General Laws of Massachusetts chapter 148, § 26E. Fortunately, the statutory language addresses "...dwellings occupied in whole or in part for residential purposes..." (thinking of your circumstances living above commercial property).


    I hope this is of some more help and that things work out for you.


    Take care and thanks again for using JustAnswer®.


    [Please click the "Accept" button. This is the only way I will get paid for my services.]