Owners of buildings of three or more apartments must provide and properly install approved window guards (PDF) in any apartment where a child 10 or younger resides. Tenants without children may also request window guards for any reason.
Approved window guards must be properly installed according to City Health Code specifications (PDF) in all windows, including bathroom windows and public hallway windows, but excluding windows that provide access to fire escapes. Window guards — or any other type of limiting device — must be appropriate and approved for the type of window (double hung, casement, sliding, etc.) in which they are installed. 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.
Building owners who do not meet this requirement may be fined.
Find out what tenants should know about window guards.
Required Forms to Give Tenants
Building owners must provide all new tenants with the Lease Notice to Tenant (Appendix A) when they first sign their lease. You must also give existing tenants the Annual Notice (Appendix B) once a year. These forms indicate whether or not children 10 or younger live in the apartment, or if the tenant or occupant wants window guards for any reason. The Annual Notice for buildings built before 1978 (Appendix B) is a joint form that includes information about lead poisoning prevention and asks if there is a child younger than 6 in the apartment.
Annual Notice Requirements for Landlords
Each year between January 1 and January 15, landlords must give every tenant or occupant the Annual Notice form (see "Required Forms" above). You can send the notice by mail or deliver it in person. You can also include it with the January rent bill, but only if the bill is delivered between December 15 and January 16.
If you have not received a response to the form from your tenant by February 15, you must inspect the apartment to determine if a child 10 or younger lives there. If a child does live there, you must check that approved window guards are properly installed and maintained. You must make reasonable efforts to find a suitable time for the inspection, and then if needed, the installation or repairs.
If the tenant refuses you access and you cannot get into the apartment to inspect and make any necessary window guard installations or repairs by March 1, you must describe the situation in a letter and send it to:
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene — Window Falls Prevention Program
125 Worth Street, CN-58, Room 620
New York, NY 10013
The letter should include a roster of tenants in your building(s) who did not comply. It must also include:
Building owners may charge tenants for the installation and cost of window guards in their apartments. The cost of window guards installed in public areas may not be passed on to tenants in the building. If a tenant moves out before paying for window guards in full, they 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 that already has window guards, you cannot charge the new tenant for them. If you choose to replace the window guards due to renovation or window replacement, you cannot charge the tenant for the new guards.
For rent stabilized or controlled apartments, owners may collect a temporary surcharge for window guards, but the maximum amount may not exceed $10 per guard. The tenant may choose to pay all at once or over a period of one to three years. This charge may not become a part of the base rent for the apartment.
For more information about window guard costs:
Window Guards Variances and Approvals for Manufacturers
If you are a window manufacturer or a building project manager, you can get a Health Department approval code for a window guard by applying for a variance. You can submit an application in writing to the Health Department:
Falls from Windows
Report window falls by children 16 years or younger to the NYC Health Department. All falls from a window in a building with three or more units must be reported within 24 hours of the incident.
To report a window fall, visit Reporting Disease and Conditions.