5 Common Code Violations Every Homeowner Should Know About


Have you recently bought a house with code violations all around?

Last year, people bought houses at the fastest pace in America’s history. Part of this was because of the pandemic’s impact on the market, making houses more affordable. However, it’s also because of this that many made the mistake of buying a house with code violations.

Housing code violations pose a serious threat to the health and safety of those dwelling within. Most people miss even the most obvious ones because people rarely know what to look for. To prevent this from happening to you, read what we’ve prepared below.

We’ve listed examples of code violations you’ll likely see around a house. Seek them out in your home and how to resolve these violations today.

1. Missing or Improper Handrail Installation

Vital in preventing fatal falls, handrails are a must in any stairway with over two steps. It’s not enough to install, too. Handrails must meet a height requirement to prevent them from becoming violations.

They should be between 34 and 37 inches to ensure they prevent potential falls. Handrails should also turn to the wall at the end, not having excess railing that sticks out. It can snag items like ID slings and bag straps, risking injuries to someone rushing.

You should also see handrails on decks over 30 inches high. Here, the balusters of these handrails should not be over four inches apart. The code prevents small children from passing through and falling to the other side.

Resolving these issues is paramount if you want to take out a property loan. What’s great is that a simple inspection can solve all your problems. Property managers will require sellers to install handrails before they can sell the property to anyone.

If the balusters are too wide, hire a construction worker. Have them install balusters between the existing ones. It’s a great way to ensure everything in your new home is up to code.

2. No Bathroom Ventilation

Ventilation is an essential part of a house. Having a proper ventilation system ensures the house circulates fresh air. A good system also takes care of odors and other fumes before they become a health issue.

It’s even more important to have a good ventilation system installed in the bathroom. The room generates a lot of heat from showers and is humid because of the water the area hosts. A vent here ensures that no moisture remains in the bathroom.

Not having proper bathroom ventilation is among the worst housing code violations a house can have. It’s because excessive moisture and humidity can breed a whole host of microorganisms, including mold.

These pose a serious threat to everyone in the house as they can spread easily once grown. Resolving this by connecting the bathroom to ductwork is best. A fan also works well enough to prevent mold growth.

3. No Deck Flashing

Deck flashings prevent decks from degrading and becoming a danger from your home. It’s because they prevent water from seeping into the materials used to construct the deck. Since most prefer their decks made from wood, it prevents rot and decay, keeping the wood strong.

You often see these flashings in joints where the deck connects with itself. Having them here also provides support to the deck’s structure, making sure it will not weaken soon. Professionals are always sure to install these, as improper deck installation is always bad for business.

However, more homeowners prefer to DIY large projects like decks and bathrooms. There’s a good chance that you bought a house with code violations because of this.

To check, hire a professional contractor to inspect your deck for you. You can also ask them to check whether the previous owner fastened the deck as they should have. Once you’ve gathered enough data, you can manage deck maintenance and repair with ease.

4. No Smoke Detectors

You may not know you’re buying a house with code violations if you don’t keep an eye out for smoke detectors. These have become a staple in homes nowadays because of their detection capabilities.

Some cities even make it illegal to dwell in a living space without a smoke detector installed. Often, areas with densely packed living situations, like New York, enforce this law. Not having early detection risks a fire spreading through many apartments, endangering many lives.

Modern houses will likely have one or two installed in key areas of the house. If the house you’ve bought is over 15 years old, then you may have to install them yourself. What’s great is installing them is easy, and you can do it in your next home remodeling project.

With how important they are nowadays, you may wonder how they can sell homes that violate this code? It’s scary to think that, while they may violate codes and protocols, it’s still possible to sell such houses. Look here for more info about properties with code violations. 

5. Lack of GFCIs

Ground-fault circuit interrupters look much like any other outlet in a house. They have a feature that allows them to sense unnatural surges of electricity, though. GFCIs immediately cut the electrical flow when this happens. 

It’s a great way to prevent problems like fatal shocks or short circuits. This feature makes them a staple in kitchens, laundry rooms, and bathrooms. However, because they look like regular outlets, they’re often hard to spot during a house tour.

One way to know for sure is by using a GFCI receptacle tester. Plugging it into an outlet tells you if there’s a problem with the circuit. It will also tell you if there’s a GFCI installed in the socket.

If the tester shows multiple red flags, it’s best to call professionals to handle them. You can also report building code violations to the authorities to make sure landlords will take action to resolve them.

Know the Most Common Housing Code Violations Today

Address housing code violations as you see them. The housing code violations list above tells you the ones you’re most likely to find. Know what they are and address the issues today!

Do you want to learn more about home management and maintenance? Check out more of our guides to learn all you can today!