Serving Massachusetts and New Hampshire Including the Merrimack Valley

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Reviewing the rules for adequate lighting

Here at the offices of Finbury and Sullivan, we’ve seen a number of clients come through our doors suffering from the effects of a slip-and-fall accident. Most are surprised at just how easily these can occur, particularly when an element of neglect on behalf of a property owner may have been involved. Sometimes, something as simple as poor lighting can create the ideal conditions for a potentially serious accident. In this post, we’ll examine what the guidelines are that spell out the responsibility that people have to keep their properties well lighted in Massachusetts.

Most would likely assume that there are strict regulations in place that spell out the liability that commercial property owners have to provide good lighting in their buildings and parking lots. Yet what about the responsibilities of residential property owners? Title 105 of the Code of Massachusetts Regulations Section 410 spell out the minimum standards residential property owners must meet in order for homes and apartments be deemed fit for human habitation. Subsections 250-254 set the expectation for the minimum number of outlets and fixtures required in each room in order to avoid an accusation of inadequate lighting. They are:

  • Kitchens: One light fixture, two wall outlets
  • Bathrooms: One light fixture
  • Habitable rooms: Two wall outlets, or one outlet and one light fixture

Furthermore, lighting standards in habitable rooms require windows sufficient enough to let enough natural light equal to at least 8 percent of the floor area of the room in. The same holds true for kitchens over 70 sq. ft. For hallways and stairways, there must be enough illumination at all times to equal a minimum of one foot candle at ground level.

For more information on potentially dangerous property conditions, visit our Premises Liability page.


55 Ginty Boulevard Haverhill, MA 01830
Phone 978-374-4736, Fax 978-521-5307

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