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Question

Housing Health and Safety Rating System (England) | Landlord Responsibility for Repairs and Maintenance (England)

Open stairs hand rail regulations

7 Mar 2016 | 1 comment

I have a house that on the lower ground floor has an open plan staircase, it has a hand rail one side but not the other, is it law that the land lord should provide another hand rail.

Answer

1 Comment

  1. guildy

    I think this should be fixed by adding a new handrail.

    Firstly, this is absolutely a risk which would require rectification under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). However, that legislation is reactive in that a local authority would first need to inspect and then issue some form of notice or order requiring the works. If there were an inspection, there is no doubt such a notice would be issued.

    Whether it needs doing under other legislation is less clear.

    It’s certainly not a section 11 repairing obligation because I don’t think it is “out of repair”.

    However, it is possible that it could be a defect as defined under section 4 Defective Premises Act 1972.

    In this recent case, the landlord was held liable for damages where a plumber fell due to a lack of a handrail. However, in that case there was a handrail which had been removed (and so was out of repair because the landlord should have put it back). The position is less clear where there was no handrail in the first place.

    I wouldn’t like to take the chance though for the relative small amount it would cost to install a handrail compared to the legal costs of defending such a claim!

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