Burlington Fire Department

Residential Time of Sale Inspection

At times of residential property transfers, owners that are directed by their lenders, attorneys, and insurance companies to request Residential Time of Sale Inspections should contact the Burlington Fire Department Office of the City Fire Marshal at (802) 864-5577 ext. 3.

The Residential Time of Sale Inspection for the City of Burlington is established through The Vermont Statutes Title 20 Chapter 173: Prevention And Investigation Of Fires whereas the Commissioner is authorized to adopt rules regarding the prevention and removal of fire hazards, and to prescribe standards necessary to protect the public.  Through a municipal agreement with the State of Vermont, the Burlington Fire Department is granted the responsibility to enforce the rules and standards and collect reasonable fees.

Who needs to request a Residential Time of Sale Inspection?

Owner-occupied single-family residences (standalone i.e. homes) are exempt, unless the home is a rental property and thus falls into the definition of a “public building.” Under the Vermont Statutes, a "public building" means a cooperative or condominium or a building in which people rent accommodations, whether overnight or for a longer term.


A fee of $125 shall be assessed for an inspection for buildings containing one or two dwelling units, which a unit is described as a building or a part of a building that is used as a home, residence, or sleeping place by one or more persons to maintain a household. 


An additional charge of $50 is applied for each unit over the second unit in the building. 


This fee shall cover the initial inspection and one re-inspection. Should a second or subsequent re-inspections be required, a separate $75 fee shall be assessed for each additional re-inspection.


All payments shall be paid by the person requesting the inspection prior to or at the time of the inspection.  Checks are to be made out to the “Burlington Fire Department.”  No cash or credit payment can be accepted.


Completing the Inspection

Plan on a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes for a Residential Time of Sale Inspection. The seller or seller’s agent needs to be present to provide access.   At the completion of the inspection, a paper or electronic copy of the form will be sent by email or mail.  If violations are noted, then the initial compliance should be completed within 30 days.  Depending on the extent of the work required to correct the violations, the 30 days may be extended after consulting the Fire Marshal Office.

The residential time of sale inspection will only be closed after all of the violations have been corrected.  Some corrective work may require the City of Burlington to issue a work permit.  The violations that require a permit shall be closed out following a separate inspection by a City’s trade’s inspector.

After verification that all of the violations have been corrected, a final a paper or electronic copy of the inspection form stating that all of the violations are corrected will be issued. 

Tips for a Successful Inspection

1. Boiler/Furnace Room Protection A one-hour rating on walls, ceiling, and doors is required for boiler and fuel-fires heater rooms that contain multiple heaters serving more than a single dwelling unit.  An option to enclosing the furnace room is to have a plumber install sprinkler heads attached to a residential water line above the heater units.  This will require a plumbing permit.

2. Dryer Vents

  • All clothes dryers shall be exhausted to the outside air, with the maximum exhaust vent length not exceeding 35 ft. as measured from the dryer terminal to the outlet.  This 35 ft. length is reduced by of 2 1/2 ft. for each 45-degree bend and 5 ft. for each 90-degree bend.  Dryer exhaust systems shall be independent of all other systems, shall convey the moisture to the outdoors, and shall terminate on the outside of the building.
  • Ducts for exhausting clothes dryer air shall be constructed of rigid sheet metal or other noncombustible material and shall have a smooth interior surface.  Aluminum or other metal tape that is designed for high heat shall be used to connect the pieces and not be put together with sheet metal screws or other fastening means that extend into the duct.
  • Dryer ducts shall be supported with metal straps where additional support is needed.  If such a duct passes through a wall, floor, or partition constructed of combustible material, all such material in the wall, floor, or partition shall be cut away from the duct, and the opening around the duct shall be sealed with noncombustible material.
  • Clothes dryers vent shall be cleaned to maintain the lint trap and keep the mechanical and heating components free from excessive accumulations of lint.
  • A vent-less clothes dryer shall be permitted when listed by an approved testing agency for an electric dryer only. The vent-less clothes dryer shall have a feature that removes and disposes moisture and condensate. Vent-less gas dryers are not allowed.

3. Fire extinguishers Portable fire extinguishers inside individual apartment of condominium units shall be permitted to be 2- ½-pound dry chemical capacity.  These extinguishers must be in a fully charged and operable condition and shall be kept in their designated places at all times when they are not being used. Portable fire extinguishers must hang securely on a hanger or bracket supplied by the manufacturer or a bracket listed for such purpose and installed not more than 5 feet above the floor.  Fire extinguishers shall be conspicuously located along normal paths of travel where they are readily accessible and immediately available in the event of a fire.

4. GFCI Protection Ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel shall be installed in a readily accessible location and installed in the following locations.

  1. Bathrooms
  2. Garages, and also accessory buildings that have a floor located at or below grade level not intended as habitable rooms and limited to storage areas, work areas, and areas of similar use
  3. Outdoors
  4. Crawl spaces — at or below grade level
  5. Unfinished portions or areas of the basement not intended as habitable rooms
  6. Kitchens — where the receptacles are installed to serve the countertop surfaces
  7. Sinks — where receptacles are installed within 1.8 m (6 ft.) from the top inside edge of the bowl of the sink
  8. Boathouses
  9. Bathtubs or shower stalls where receptacles are installed within 1.8 m (6 ft.) of the outside edge of the bathtub or shower stall
  10. Laundry areas

5. Fire alarm and sprinkler systems If the building is protected by a fire alarm and/or sprinkler system, the system shall be inspected and tested annually. Proof of inspection, shall be affixed by a technically qualified person to the control panel, control valve or riser.

6. Handrails/guardrails Existing required handrails shall be not less than 30 in., and not more than 38 in., above the surface of the tread. Handrails shall include one of the following:   1) Circular cross section with an outside diameter of not less than 1 1/4 in. and not more than 2 in. Shape that is other than circular with a perimeter dimension of not less than 4 in. but not more than 6 1/4 in., and with the largest cross-sectional dimension not more than 2 1/4 in.  Open guards shall have intermediate rails or an ornamental pattern such that a sphere 4 inches in diameter is not able to pays through the opening.

7. Fuel fired heating appliances All fuel fired heating appliances shall be cleaned and maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, and shall be inspected at least once during any 2 year period by person(s) certified. The Code Enforcement Minimum Housing inspection program requires certified inspection and tag placement on all fuel-burning heating equipment at Burlington rental properties.  Tags may be obtained from the Burlington Department of Public Works.

8. Smoke and CO alarms Every dwelling unit shall have a carbon monoxide (CO) detector in the vicinity of the sleeping areas and on every floor of the dwelling.  Every dwelling unit shall have smoke detectors/alarms installed in every sleeping room or area, outside every sleeping room or area in the immediate vicinity of the sleeping room or area, and on all levels of the dwelling, including basements but excluding crawl spaces and unfinished attics.