George E. Pataki, Governor                     Joseph H. Holland, Commissioner

                     A publication of New York State
                Division of Housing and Community Renewal
                      Office of Rent Administration

                     Fact Sheet #25 - Window Guards
                             [Revised 3/96]

      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 New York
State 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 guard installation.

      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
      65 Worth Street, 5th Floor
      New York, NY  10013
      (212) 442-1999

      A tenant who believes that an owner has not complied with the
regulations on window guards should discuss the problem with the owner. If the
owner does not address the tenant's concerns, the tenant may report a
noncomplying owner or improperly installed window guard(s) by calling the NYC
Department of Health, Bureau of Central Complaints and Information at
(212) 442-9666.

      Tenants or owners with questions about the temporary surcharge should
call DHCR's Rent Infoline, (718) 739-6400 or visit their local Borough Rent

92-31 Union Hall Street
4th Floor
Jamaica, NY 11433
(718) 739-6400

250 Schermerhorn Street
3rd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Upper Manhattan
163 W. 125th Street
5th Floor
New York, NY 10027
North side of 110th St. and above

Lower Manhattan
156 William Street
9th Floor
New York, NY 10038
South side of 110th St. and below

1 Fordham Plaza
2nd Floor
Bronx, NY 10458

Staten Island
60 Bay Street
7th Floor
Staten Island, NY 10301

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