Railings in NYS

The attorney is saying that because the house was built in 1965 (prior to 1973) , even though they bought it 1995 it does not require a handrail. We’re in NY and there are two steps in normal height in the front of the house. Buyer is saying the railing is a requirement? Anybody know the “real requirement”
This is holding us clients closing


There are only TWO Steps so the Builder is right!

This is from the 2006 International Residential Code for One & Two Family Dwellings.

Chapter 3, Building Planning
R311.5.6 Handrails.
Handrails shall be provided on at least one side of each continuous run of treads or flight with four or more risers.

**R311.5.6.1 Height. **
Handrail height, measured vertically from the sloped plane adjoining the tread nosing, or finish surface of ramp slope, shall be not less than 34 inches (864 mm) and not more than 38 inches (965 mm).

R311.5.6.2 Continuity.
Handrails for stairways shall be continuous for the full length of the flight, from a point directly above the top riser of the flight to a point directly above the lowest riser of the flight. Handrail ends shall be returned or shall terminate in newel posts or safety terminals. Handrails adjacent to a wall shall have a space of not less than 1½ inch (38 mm) between the wall and the handrails.


  1. Handrails shall be permitted to be interrupted by a newel post at the turn.
  2. The use of a volute, turnout, starting easing or starting newel shall be allowed over the lowest tread.

**R311.5.6.3 Handrail grip size. **
All required handrails shall be of one of the following types or provide equivalent graspability.

  1. Type I. Handrails with a circular cross section shall have an outside diameter of at least 1¼ inches (32 mm) and not greater than 2 inches (51 mm). If the handrail is not circular it shall have a perimeter dimension of at least 4 inches (102 mm) and not greater than 6¼ inches (160 mm) with a maximum cross section of dimension of 2¼ inches(57 mm).

  2. Type II. Handrails with a perimeter greater than 6¼ inches (160 mm) shall provide a graspable finger recess area on both sides of the profile. The finger recess shall begin within a distance of ¾ inch (19 mm) measured vertically from the tallest portion of the profile and achieve a depth of at least 5/16 inch (8 mm) within 7/8 inch (22 mm) below the widest portion of the profile.

This required depth shall continue for at least 3/8 inch (10 mm) to a level that is not less than 1¾ inches (45 mm) below the tallest portion of the profile.

The minimum width of the handrail above the recess shall be 1¼ inches (32 mm) to a maximum of 2¾inches (70 mm). Edges shall have a minimum radius of 0.01 inch (0.25 mm).

There are some lenders that will require railings on a transfer of ownership and I have seen theses same railings removed the day of closing.

I would contact the town building Dept and ask them if it is required? What town is the home in Islip, Smithtown, Brookhaven, Huntington??? All towns are not the same.