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Old 07-26-2012, 10:14 AM   #1
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is it a law to have a railing for basement stairs?


i am purchasing a home and there is a stair going o the basement. there's a wall on the left and no railing on the right, it's open. asise from safety reasons, is a handrail required by new york state law?

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Old 07-26-2012, 10:19 AM   #2
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is it a law to have a railing for basement stairs?


Call the building inspector office and ask.

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Old 07-26-2012, 10:59 AM   #3
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is it a law to have a railing for basement stairs?


I believe a handrail would be required regardless of what state you're in.

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Old 07-26-2012, 11:39 AM   #4
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is it a law to have a railing for basement stairs?


It would depend on whether it was "code required" at the time of construction.
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:44 PM   #5
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is it a law to have a railing for basement stairs?


Law? No law is going to require you have one. The building code would likely stipulate you'd have to install one during the construction. It's possible rental laws might have something to say about it, but only if it was being rented out. But as far as selling or buying it, that's up to you as whether you want a railing there.

You could certainly ask that one being installed as a condition for purchase. Just as they'd be free to tell you no and sell it to someone else.

That said, it's usually a good idea to have one for safety's sake.
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:50 PM   #6
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is it a law to have a railing for basement stairs?


RCNYS section R315 requires stairways having two or more risers to have at least one handrail, at a
height of between 34 and 38 inches above the nosing. There must be a clearance of at least 1 inches
behind wall mounted handrails. Handrails must be continuous from a point above the top riser to a point
above the lowest riser of each flight of stairs. This would allow a newel post to be attached to the face of
the bottom riser, with half of its base resting on the bottom tread. Exceptions to R315.1 involving newel
posts are contained in the original ICC version of the code and have been issued as a clarification to the
RCNYS and are effective as follows:
http://www.dos.ny.gov/DCEA/pdf/RCstairsTB.pdf My google works better then yours...
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:04 PM   #7
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is it a law to have a railing for basement stairs?


Right, code says you've got to have one as part of a construction plan involving it. It doesn't say you have to keep one there. Nor does it say you can't sell a house without one. But as a buyer that's concerned about safety it's certainly something to consider.

That and the buyer should contact the local permitting office to see what's been issued for the site. But this is true for any home purchase. If it's clear there's been work done and there are no permits issued then that, too, should give pause to think more about the purchase. Permits aren't a guarantee the work was done properly, of course.

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