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If your apartment building has three or more apartments and there are any children under 11 living there, your landlord or superintendent must provide, properly install, and maintain City-approved window guards.

If you don't have children, you may still request window guards. You do not have to provide a reason for your request. You should request them in writing to the owner and the landlord or super will have to install them.

As a tenant, you can make a complaint about a landlord or manager who refuses to install window guards upon request. You must provide your contact information.

As a landlord, you can make a complaint about a tenant who refuses window guard installation.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Alert

Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) health and safety concerns, Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) staff will wear masks if inspection is required/attempted. Tenants are also asked to wear masks during any inspection.

As a tenant, you or someone on your behalf can make a complaint that your landlord or manager refused to install or maintain window guards in your apartment. You must provide your contact information.

Window guards must be installed on all windows except windows leading to fire escapes. This includes windows on the first floor, in bathrooms, leading onto a balcony or terrace, and in hallways. Where there is a fire escape from the upper floors, one window of the first floor apartments can remain unguarded.

Before filing a complaint, you should try to resolve the issue with your landlord, managing agent, or superintendent. If you live in a co-op or condo, you should first report apartment maintenance issues to the owner, management company or board before filing a complaint with HPD.

What Happens Next

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) investigates maintenance complaints and tickets owners who break the law.

Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) health and safety concerns, Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) staff will wear masks if inspection is required/attempted. Tenants are also asked to wear masks during any inspection.

HPD will attempt to contact your building's managing agent to advise them that a complaint has been filed and that a violation may be issued if the condition is not corrected immediately. HPD will also attempt to call you back to see if the condition was corrected. If you indicate that the condition was corrected, HPD will close the complaint.

Learn more about HPD complaints and inspections.

Learn more about housing quality and safety issues on the HPD website.

Inspections

If it was not corrected or HPD cannot reach you, a uniformed Code Enforcement inspector will be sent to inspect the reported condition. If English is not your primary language, let the Inspector know and they can call a translator to help.

The owner/agent is not notified of the inspection date. Inspectors will also check for the following violations: smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, lead-based paint (if there is a child under six), window guards (if there is a child under 11), double cylinder locks, and bars on the fire escape windows.

Additional Assistance

There is additional support available for tenants in rent-controlled or rent-stabilized apartments. To learn more, go to the Rent Regulated Apartments page.

For more information about residential property maintenance requirements and tenant rights and responsibilities, use the Housing Rules for Owners and Tenants page.

Copies of maintenance complaints are available for both Tenants and Landlords.For additional questions about a complaint or to get copies of complaints, go to the HPD Building Information and Code Enforcement Borough Service Centers page.

Housing Court

If you made a complaint and your landlord didn't fix the problem, you can take legal action in Housing Court. Document all contact with your landlord and HPD about the conditions in your apartment so you can use it in court.

To learn more about Housing Court, go to the Housing Court for Tenants and Landlords page.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Alert

Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) health and safety concerns, Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) staff will wear masks if inspection is required/attempted. Tenants are also asked to wear masks during any inspection.

As a tenant, you or someone on your behalf can make a complaint that your landlord or manager refused to install or maintain window guards in the public area of your building. You must provide your contact information.

Window guards must be installed on all windows except windows leading to fire escapes. This includes windows on the first floor, in bathrooms, leading onto a balcony or terrace, and in hallways. Where there is a fire escape from the upper floors, one window of the first floor apartments can remain unguarded.

Before filing a complaint, you should try to resolve the issue with your landlord, managing agent, or superintendent. If you live in a co-op or condo, you should first report apartment maintenance issues to the owner, management company or board before filing a complaint with HPD.

What Happens Next

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) investigates maintenance complaints and tickets owners who break the law.

Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) health and safety concerns, Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) staff will wear masks if inspection is required/attempted. Tenants are also asked to wear masks during any inspection.

HPD will attempt to contact your building's managing agent to advise them that a complaint has been filed and that a violation may be issued if the condition is not corrected immediately. HPD will also attempt to call you back to see if the condition was corrected. If you indicate that the condition was corrected, HPD will close the complaint.

Learn more about HPD complaints and inspections.

Learn more about housing quality and safety issues on the HPD website.

Inspections

If it was not corrected or HPD cannot reach you, a uniformed Code Enforcement inspector will be sent to inspect the reported condition. If English is not your primary language, let the Inspector know and they can call a translator to help.

The owner/agent is not notified of the inspection date. Inspectors will also check for the following violations: smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, lead-based paint (if there is a child under six), window guards (if there is a child under 11), double cylinder locks, and bars on the fire escape windows.

Additional Assistance

There is additional support available for tenants in rent-controlled or rent-stabilized apartments. To learn more, go to the Rent Regulated Apartments page.

For more information about residential property maintenance requirements and tenant rights and responsibilities, use the Housing Rules for Owners and Tenants page.

Copies of maintenance complaints are available for both Tenants and Landlords.For additional questions about a complaint or to get copies of complaints, go to the HPD Building Information and Code Enforcement Borough Service Centers page.

Housing Court

If you made a complaint and your landlord didn't fix the problem, you can take legal action in Housing Court. Document all contact with your landlord and HPD about the conditions in your apartment so you can use it in court.

To learn more about Housing Court, go to the Housing Court for Tenants and Landlords page.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Alert

The Health Department is currently reviewing all complaints and responding primarily to those that pose an imminent threat to public health or safety.

Non-emergency complaints will be logged and responded to when regular operations resume.

Landlords can report a tenant that refuses installation of window guards or who removes their window guards. The landlord must provide contact information for the Health Department to respond to this request.

An owner of a rent stabilized or rent controlled apartment may collect a surcharge from the tenant. The New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal (NYSHCR) has established a one-time maximum fee of $10.00 per window guard for rent control or rent stabilized apartments.

The fee may be imposed a month after installation of the window guards. The cost of window guards installed in public areas may not be passed on to tenants in the building. 

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, 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.

By Phone

  • Agency: New York State Homes and Community Renewal
  • Division: Rent Administration Offices
  • Phone Number: (833) 499-0343
  • Business Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
  • Automated telephone system with recorded information in English and Spanish.

In Person

You can get in person assistance in multiple languages at an HCR Borough Rent Office. To find an HCR Borough Rent Office, go to the Rent Regulated Apartments page.

Air conditioner units are acceptable alternatives to window guards if they are permanently installed and not removed seasonally. Permanent installation of air conditioners includes the following requirements:

  • The air conditioner is to be permanently bolted into the window sill.
  • There are not spaces greater than 4.5 inches above or on the sides of the unit. Any barriers installed around the unit must be installed with tamper-proof screws.
  • L-shaped stops must be installed in both sides of the inside window track to prevent the window from lifting more than 4.5 inches above the installed air conditioner. If the air conditioner meets with the lower window panel, L-shaped stops are not necessary.

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