Regulations about Installing and Maintaining Window Guards

The New York City Health Code [S. 131.15] requires owners of multiple dwellings (3 apartments or more) in New York City to provide, install, and maintain window guards when a child (or children) ten years or younger lives there. Tenants with no children, or none living at home, may also request and receive window guards if they want them for any reason.

Window guards approved by the NYC Department of Health (DOH) must be properly installed according to DOH specifications in all windows, including bathroom windows, except any window providing access to fire escapes. For buildings with fire escapes above the first and ground floors, but none below, one window must be left unguarded to allow for a secondary exit from the apartment [NYC Building department rule 4.10].

Rent Stabilized or Rent Controlled Buildings

An owner of a rent stabilized or rent controlled apartment may collect a temporary surcharge from the tenant. The maximum amount of this temporary surcharge may not exceed $10 per window guard. The tenant may choose to pay at one time, or in equal monthly installments over a one, two, or three year period. This charge does not become a part of the base rent for the apartment. The first monthly installment may be collected on the first day of the month following the installation, without an official order from the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). If a tenant leaves the apartment before the total surcharge is paid in full, the tenant must pay the balance immediately. The owner may deduct the remaining unpaid portion from the tenant's security deposit. When a new tenant moves into an apartment in which window guards were installed for the previous tenant, the new tenant may not be charged for them. If the window guards have been fully paid for and the owner replaces them due to the owner's renovation or replacement of windows, a second surcharge may not be collected from that tenant or a later one.

Tenants Receiving Public Assistance

Recipients of public assistance, holders of Section 8 certificates, households receiving Senior Citizen Rent Increase exemptions (SCRIE), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or State payments under Section 209 of the Social Service Law, will not be required to pay this charge out-of-pocket. Instead, with a two party check issued through local Income Maintenance Centers, the Human Resources Administration will reimburse owners after the tenant submits an itemized bill on the owner's stationery following the window guard installation. Recipients if SSI or Section 209 subsidies may contact their Social Services District Offices with an itemized bill from the owner following the window guard installation.

Owners of multiple dwellings are also responsible for the installation ofwindow guards in public areas if a child ten years old or younger lives in the building. The cost of public areas may not be passed on to tenants in the building.

Time Period for Compliance

Each year, between January 1 and January 15, owners must comply with DOH and NYC Administrative Code [S.17-123] requirements and send or deliver to eachtenant or occupant a DOH approved form in English and Spanish. The tenant must complete the form and return it to the owner indicating whether or not children ten years old or younger live in the apartment or if the tenant or occupant wants window guards for any reasons. Failure to follow this procedure by the owner or tenant is a violation of NYC Administrative Code [17-123]. Owners are also required to attach a DOH approved special lease Notice To Tenant ("Appendix A") to: (1) all vacancy leases and, (2) all renewal leases.

NYC Health Department Specifications

The window guards and their installation must conform to the NYC Health Department specifications or the owner will be in violation and ordered to replace or correct them. Only DOH approved guards, properly installed, qualify for the temporary surcharges. DOH will supply owners with a list of approved manufacturers or window guards and specifications, upon request.

For more information on Window Guards, call 311.