DHCR FACT SHEET #25
Division of Housing and Community Renewal
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 old 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].
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 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 in that apartment may
not be collected from that tenant or any later one.
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 of SSI or
Section 209 subsidies may contact their Social Services District
Office with an itemized bill from the owner following the window
Owners of multiple dwellings are also responsible for the
installation of window guards in public areas if a child ten
years old or younger lives in the building. The cost of window
guards installed in public areas may not be passed on to tenants
in the building .
Each year, between January 1 -- January 15, owners must comply
with DOH and NYC Administrative Code (S.17-123) requirements and
send or deliver to each tenant 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 reason. 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.
The window guards and their installation must conform to DOH
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 of window guards and
specifications, upon request.
Owners and tenants may obtain additional information and
assistance regarding notification procedures and DOH regulations
as well as Annual Notice to Tenant or Occupant forms ("Appendix
B") by contacting:
NYC Department of Health
Window Falls Prevention Program
125 Worth Street, Room 222A
New York, NY 10013
(212) 788 4270 or (212) 788 4269.
Tenants may report non-complying owners or improperly installed
window guards by calling the NYC Department of Health at (212)
Tenants or owners with questions about the temporary surcharge
should call DHCR's Rent Infoline (718) 739- 6400 or visit their
local Borough Rent Office.
DHCR Fact Sheets (series of thirty) are issued by the New York
State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) as plain-
english informational publications. For official agency
policies, see DHCR Policy Statements, Advisory Opinions and
Operational Bulletins. Also refer to the Rent Stabilization Code,
the Rent Stabilization Law and various Rent Control Statutes.
Electronic versions of these documents on TenantNet are for
informational purposes only and there is no guarantee they will
be accepted by any court (or even DHCR) as true copies of DHCR
policy. The reader may obtain true copies of these documents from
Every attempt has been made to conform to the original Fact
Sheets as issued by DHCR; TenantNet makes no
representation the enclosed material is current or will be
applied as written. The reader is advised that DHCR often fails
to properly apply, interpret or enforce housing laws. Since
housing laws are complex and often contradictory, it is
recommended the reader obtain competent legal advice from a
tenant attorney or counseling from a tenant association or
community group. (rev. 3/13/96) DHCR documents
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For more information or assistance, call the DHCR Rent Infoline
at (718) 739-6400, or visit your Borough Rent Office.
Queens Central Office
92-31 Union Hall St. 4th Fl.
Jamaica, NY 11433
One Fordham Plaza
Bronx, NY 10458
250 Schermerhorn St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201
156 William Street
NY, NY 10038
(212) 240-6011, 6012
South side of 110th St. and below
163 W. 125th St.
NY, NY 10027
North side of 110th St. and above
350 St. Mark's Place
Staten island, NY 10301
Nassau County District Rent Office
50 Clinton Street, 6th Floor
Hempstead, NY 11550
Westchester County District Rent Office
55 Church Street, 3rd Floor
White Plains, NY 10601
Rockland County District Rent Office
94-96 North Main St.
Spring Valley, NY 10977
Albany Regional Office
119 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12210
Buffalo Regional Office
Ellicot Square Building
295 Main St., Room 438
Buffalo, NY 14203