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Window Guards Save Lives, But Who Pays?

Window Guards
June 24, 2016

New York City seems to be undergoing a very loud baby boom. The signs are everywhere: noisy playgrounds, overcrowded schools, sidewalks gridlocked with strollers. Less conspicuous is that other sure sign that children are present: window guards.

Those metal bars are mandatory in windows in New York City buildings with three or more units if a child under 10 lives in the apartment. A board member in a 40-unit condo in the East Village poses this question to the Ask Real Estate column in the New York Times: “In a condo, whose responsibility is it to pay for window guards?”

In a condominium building, the person who owns the apartment, not the condo association, is responsible for the safety of the apartment, including window guards, says attorney Mark Luxemburg, a partner at Gallet Dreyer & Berkey. If the unit-owner sublets the apartment, he or she is still responsible for the guards.

In co-ops, on the other hand, installation and maintenance is initially the responsibility of the corporation – though some proprietary leases authorize boards to pass the cost on to the shareholder. In rental apartments, installation and maintenance is the landlord’s responsibility.

And remember this quirk: though window guards are designed to prevent children from plunging to their deaths, the guards are required even on first-floor windows. Only fire-escape windows are exempt. Hey, this is New York. Don’t expect the laws to be logical.

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Learn all the basics of NYC co-op and condo management, with straight talk from heavy hitters in the field of co-op or condo apartments

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