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Oct, 2014

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    London
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    7

    Default stairs without banister on one side.

    Hi

    We are about to let our house that has and open staircase upto the first floor, it has a hand rail on the wall side but the other side is open to the hallway. The estate agent says this is a health & safety risk (sigh!) and need to have a banister aswell.

    Anyone know if this is correct?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Andalucía
    Posts
    9,679

    Default

    No idea, but a while ago I stayed in a guest house in England which had an open staircase and I confess I thought that a bit odd.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    South West
    Posts
    1,457

    Default

    We always advise our landlords to ensure the stairs are as safe as they can be. Its all about duty of care as a landlord.

    Many older properties are like this and we always advise any potential tenants about the stairs not being suitable for young children.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    5,077

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pra123 View Post
    We are about to let our house that has and open staircase upto the first floor, it has a hand rail on the wall side but the other side is open to the hallway. The estate agent says this is a health & safety risk (sigh!) and need to have a banister aswell.
    If this was a new-build house, there's no way building control would sign it off like that since current regs stipulate that the space should be filled in. However, there's no requirement to do this retrospectively, so there's no law which says specifically you must sort it out.

    That said, what do you suppose would happen if your tenant has an accident because of it? You'll have a no-win-no-fee ambulance-chasing solicitor on your back before you can blink. Basically, althought it's not compulsory, I'd say it's a bit of a no-brainer to have the work done. (I bought a property recently myself in this state, and the first thing I did was have a proper bannister fitted.)

    It's possible the agent may just be insisting on it before they take on the property, in the same way that many insist on electrical testing (which is also not compulsory for a non-HMO let).

    If you remain unconvinced, look at it an another way: there is no doubt an open stair like this will instantly put off a number of tenants, so by not getting the work done you're reducing your pool of tenants. I wonder how many extra days of void period it would take to add up to the cost of employing a joiner?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Yorkshire
    Posts
    24,592

    Default

    I agree with Eric (except that I think he meant it would be a no-brainer not to have the work done)...?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Midlands
    Posts
    2,216

    Default

    Regrettably this is a health and safety issue enforced by ambulance chasing lawyers. More years ago than I care to think, I decided that I couldn't stand the enclosed staircase I had in my own house. I thus opened it up fitting the bannister rail on the wall. A few years ago I developed an incurable disease which gave me much walking difficulty and my LA social services department tut-tutted about my lovely open staircase and sent a man around to enclose it again. It took me a mere two weeks of increasing anger as to the appearance of the staircase before my electric screwdriver came out and on hand and knees the offending bits of timber were removed!
    My tenants of course all have to put up with enclosed staircases.

    P.P.
    Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    5,104

    Default

    Did your agent post this question about a fortnight ago?

    I think you can blame me. I told him not to touch it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    267

    Default

    HHSRS guidelines do not allow for open plan stairs best bet put up a bannister and remove it if and when you wish to live in the property yourself

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