FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 27, 2011
MAYOR BLOOMBERG SIGNS LEGISLATION TRANSFERRING ENFORCEMENT OF THE INSTALLATION OF WINDOW GUARDS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING PRESERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT
Remarks by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws
"The next bill before me is Introductory Number 531-A, sponsored by Council Members Dilan, Barron, Cabrera, Chin, Comrie, Gonzalez, Koppell, Mealy, Mendez, Vann, Williams, Mark-Viverito, Brewer, Recchia, Gennaro, Van Bramer, Nelson, Jackson, Arroyo, Eugene, Crowley, Lander, Weprin and Rodriguez. Introductory Number 531-A largely transfers jurisdiction for the enforcement of the installation of window guards in residential multiple dwellings from the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene to the Department of Housing Preservation & Development.
"Currently, enforcement regarding window guards is primarily the responsibility of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The New York City Health Code requires property owners to install an approved window guard if there is a child ten years of age or younger or when requested by a tenant in all apartment windows and public area windows. Failure to comply with the requirements of the Code results in the issuance of a Commissioner's Order to Abate (COTA) and, if there is no compliance, the issuance of a violation and a referral to HPD's Emergency Repair Program for the installation of the guards.
"In September 2007, in recognition that HPD conducted inspections in thousands of apartments each year where window guards might be required, the Health Code was amended to authorize the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to also issue DOHMH Commissioner's Orders to Abate for window guards. Since that time, HPD has issued over 36,500 COTAs for window guard conditions based on observations during inspections in response to other conditions. Overall, the enforcement of window guard requirements in multiple dwellings in New York City has contributed to a significant decrease in the number of window falls - almost a 94% decrease in gross reported falls since the law was first enacted in 1973.
"Introductory Number 531-A enhances the City's ability to respond to complaints concerning window guards by bringing the enforcement of window guard requirements in to the same enforcement structure as other housing maintenance conditions. This simplifies the process for both tenants and property owners by bringing an issue clearly related to housing maintenance into the existing enforcement process for other housing maintenance conditions. Tenants will be able to file a complaint with one agency - and expect only one inspection - for all conditions in their apartment. Property owners will no longer have to follow a separate enforcement process for window guards, which can lead to confusion and duplicative effort.
"Introductory Number 531-A accomplishes several beneficial goals: it simplifies the enforcement process for both tenants and property owners; consolidates the provision of services among City agencies currently providing the same service; and maximizes existing resources by re-allocating them when available to appropriate tasks.
"I would like to thank Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Mathew Wambua and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley and their staff for their work on this bill along with my Office of City Legislative Affairs. I would also like to thank the City Council for approving this legislation."
Stu Loeser/Evelyn Erskine (212) 788-2958
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