New York City Housing Authority

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Air Conditioners & Window Guards Notice

In order to promote safety and ensure compliance with the New York City Health Code, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has established stringent rules for the installation of window guards and air conditioner as alternatives to window guards.

Air conditioner in NYCHA residence. (Photo by PETE MIKOLESKI)

NYCHA currently installs window guards in all windows – including leading to a terrace or balcony – at no cost to you. Exceptions are windows providing access to fire escapes and windows that are a secondary exit in a first floor apartment where there are fire escapes on upper floors.

If you do not have a full set of windows guards installed, please contact the Customer Contact Center at (718) 707-7771 IMMEDIATELY so that we can install window guards in unguarded windows.

The Resident Lease Agreement requires that residents cooperate and do everything necessary to permit NYCHA to comply with New York City laws concerning the installation and maintenance of window guards.

Current residents and occupants are required to complete the Annual Window Guard Survey. In addition, no resident may refuse the installation of window guards when children ten (10) years of age or younger reside or (as reported in an Annual Window Guard Survey) frequently visit an apartment.

It is a violation of the law if:

  • You do not complete the Annual Window Guard Survey
  • You refuse or do not allow access to install window guards if children 10 years of age or younger reside in your apartment
  • You remove window guards from your windows.

Residents and occupants who fail to comply may be subject to penalties and/or termination or tenancy.

Air Conditioner as Window Guard Alternatives

Air conditioners are an acceptable alternative to window guards only if they are properly and permanently installed (not seasonally removed).

Prior to installation of an air conditioner in an apartment, the tenant(s) of record must sign NYCHA form 150.110 Appliance Agreement, that has been executed by the Housing Manager or the latter’s designee. The Agreement requires that residents notify NYCHA within three (3) days after installation of the air conditioner has been completed. Air conditioners must be installed at your own expense in accordance with the following specifications:

  • Except as otherwise provided below, the air conditioner unit must fit the entire width of the window. There cannot be any open unguarded spaces greater than 4 ½ inches
  • Two (2) “L”-shaped stops are required in the window track when the space between the air conditioner and the fully raised window sash is greater than 4 ½ inches
  • “L”-shaped stops must be installed in both sides of the inside window track to prevent the window from lifting upward
  • The air conditioner is to be permanently attached into the window opening
  • Structurally sound barriers must be installed on one or both sides of the air conditioner when the air conditioner does not fill the entire width of the window and the unguarded space or spaces would exceed 4 ½ inches
  • Bricks, wood, insulation, or any other object, other than the manufacturers specified brackets, places under the air conditioner, are prohibited.

You must immediately notify the the Customer Contact Center at (718) 707-7771 when any air conditioner is to be removed from any window. Upon this notification, you must schedule an appointment during business hours for a maintenance worker to be present when the air conditioner is removed, in order to immediately replace the air conditioner with a window guard.

If, during an inspection, it is determined that your air conditioner is improperly installed and presents a clear and present danger of falling out of the window, it will be immediately removed, and a window guard will be installed in its place. If you are not home to provide access, staff is authorized to enter your apartment on an emergency basis to correct the hazard.

It is vital to the safety and well-being of you, your family, and your neighbors that window guards and air conditioners are installed in compliance with New York City law and the rules of the New York City Housing Authority. Please make every effort to help us help you!

Window Guard Policy
NYCHA Fact Sheet