open stairs
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open stairs (by jc [FL]) Apr 20, 2019 5:36 PM
       open stairs (by Steve [MA]) Apr 20, 2019 6:17 PM
       open stairs (by Steve [MA]) Apr 20, 2019 6:24 PM
       open stairs (by Ken [NY]) Apr 20, 2019 6:30 PM
       open stairs (by Deanna [TX]) Apr 20, 2019 7:11 PM
       open stairs (by JKJ [MA]) Apr 21, 2019 4:33 AM
       open stairs (by nhsailmaker [NH]) Apr 21, 2019 4:35 AM
       open stairs (by Oregonwoodsmoke [ID]) Apr 21, 2019 6:38 AM
       open stairs (by AllyM [NJ]) Apr 21, 2019 9:56 AM
       open stairs (by nhsailmaker [NH]) Apr 23, 2019 3:37 AM
       open stairs (by Wilma [PA]) Apr 23, 2019 10:51 AM
       open stairs (by Nellie [ME]) Apr 23, 2019 6:56 PM

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open stairs (by jc [FL]) Posted on: Apr 20, 2019 5:36 PM

We bought a two story townhouse near the beach in south Florida. The property was distressed with the base and the landing of the stairs damaged. Rather than repair we took the opportunity to do a redesign removing a closet next the stairs and removing a landing w/ a turn and instead going with straight stairs .. about 12 foot run and about 10 feet high. We installed a very sturdy iron handrail on the wall side but the inside is completely open above about 10 inches. Carpet was removed from wood steps and they were stained. The stairs are less than 36 inch wide and now are open on one side starting at about 7 steps from the top to the floor. There are other stairs with this design in the complex but rails are on the open side. We've been using the property on and off for 2 years and never had issue.

So.. we are now thinking of renting the property out. The county makes us get a renters permit. We are concerned that the modification or open stairs somehow exposes us to liability if the tenant falls. All I have read is that stairs wider than 44 inches require two handrails, but nothing on which side handrails need to be on.

Are we at risk of getting sued if the tenant is injured with these stairs?


open stairs (by Steve [MA]) Posted on: Apr 20, 2019 6:17 PM

If I understand you correctly, one side has a rail that helps prevent someone for falling off the stairs & the other side only has a 10" high stub wall to prevent anyone from falling off the stairs. If this is the case you definitely are leaving yourself open to a lawsuit when someone falls off the stairs. IMO you should add either a hand rail with proper baluster spacing or increase the 10" wall to at least 36". --96.237.xx.xx

open stairs (by Steve [MA]) Posted on: Apr 20, 2019 6:24 PM

I hit submit too soon. Your situation is similar to having walls or railings to prevent someone from falling off a deck, a landing, a balcony, a wall, etc that has at least a 30" drop.

If you look up requirements for guard rails instead of handrails, I think you will get a better understanding of what is actually required. --96.237.xx.xx

open stairs (by Ken [NY]) Posted on: Apr 20, 2019 6:30 PM

If the county does an inspection for the rental permit I doubt it will pass,you definitely will need a sturdy handrail either way

open stairs (by Deanna [TX]) Posted on: Apr 20, 2019 7:11 PM

I've got a place with exterior steps, and my insurance needs me to have handrails on both sides for anything greater than two steps, or else they won't cover accidents related to my steps. :)

That's on the outside-- so I'm sure the inside stairs also have their own rules. You might check with your insurance.

open stairs (by JKJ [MA]) Posted on: Apr 21, 2019 4:33 AM

Seems to me that you would want a railing of some sort on the open side for liability reasons. If you like the “open look” what about the wire rope railings. You know the ones that have either wood or thin metal posts and stainless steel cable running between the posts. They aren’t very expensive and look pretty straight forward to install. You get the safety, but still retail the open look somewhat. Just a thought. But a call to your insurance company would definitely answer you question whether they will allow it as is.

open stairs (by nhsailmaker [NH]) Posted on: Apr 21, 2019 4:35 AM

Which County in FL requires rental inspections?

I will make sure I avoid stepping foot in that Stalag

open stairs (by Oregonwoodsmoke [ID]) Posted on: Apr 21, 2019 6:38 AM

I like the look of the cable railings, but the point is to prevent little kids from falling and so I suggest you look up what HUD's Section 8 requirement is for deck railings, how tall how close together.

Not that there is any way to prevent wild kids from climbing or drunks from falling, but you want to be seen to be making a good effort to protect them from themselves.

I am assuming that when you say one side is open that there is a clear fall off the stairs to the ground. If that is not what you mean, please clarify.

open stairs (by AllyM [NJ]) Posted on: Apr 21, 2019 9:56 AM

Sounds very concerning. Since you are asking the question it is bothering you and you have some intuition that there could be a problem. A little child getting hurt on those stairs might ruin your day, year or life. Please make an effort to get a railing on that space. I have vertical large dowels on basement stairs in my own home going from the step to the ceiling above the stairs, on all the steps, and they have saved me many times. Looks like prison bars but it works.

open stairs (by nhsailmaker [NH]) Posted on: Apr 23, 2019 3:37 AM

Which County in FL

open stairs (by Wilma [PA]) Posted on: Apr 23, 2019 10:51 AM

Definitely do something about it - my MIL was carrying something in each hand as she walked UP a similar staircase. She tripped on a loose shoelace and fell sideways, about 5 feet to the basement floor. Broke her pelvis.

open stairs (by Nellie [ME]) Posted on: Apr 23, 2019 6:56 PM

There is a maximum # of steps before you must have a landing, too. Not sure what it is. And open sides for stairs 10’ up? Just sounds like an accident in the making. Also, open tread stairs are less safe than closed treads. IMO, these stairs require a whole redesign with safety, not aesthetics, in mind.

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