||Those who live in
and around New York City know that it’s fairly
common to see bars on the windows of apartment buildings.
What many city dwellers are not aware of, however, are
the rights of tenants and the responsibilities of landlords
when it comes to these often unsightly - but quite necessary
- window treatments.
Window bars, also called window guards, are intended
to prevent anyone from falling from a window that is
high up. Of course, they can also work to keep anyone
from entering a space through a window. Window bars
are considered a necessity in homes with children when
the dwelling is located more than three stories above
ground level. In fact, any landlord who has tenants
with a child under the age of ten who lives above three
stories is required to provide window guards on all
of the apartment windows. Landlords are also required
to have window guards on any hallway window.
Those who live above three stories but do not have children
in their apartment can also request to have window guards
installed on their windows, and the landlord needs to
comply. This is of importance to those who, although
children do not live in the space, may have children
who frequently visit and could be in danger if they
were to get too close to a window without window guards.
You do not need to have children who visit to request
window guards, though. Any resident who lives in an
apartment that is more than three stories above ground
level may request window guards. The request must be
honored by the landlord, according to the law.
The exception to the rule that requires a landlord to
provide window guards is if the window provides direct
access to a fire escape. Access to a fire escape may
not be blocked, and therefore if a window is the way
out of an apartment, window guards will not be installed
on that window.
In order to be deemed safe, the window guard that is
to be installed on a wind must be approved for use on
that particular type of window. Additionally, the window
guard should have a manufacturer’s approval number
on its side. Window guards should, if they are working
and installed properly, prevent any object that is greater
than five inches in diameter from passing through the
window guard. If your window guard does not do this,
it was not installed properly and it will require further
attention from a professional.
With or without window guards, there are a few general
safety rules that should be observed when it comes to
windows. For example, furniture should not be placed
near windows where a child could easily gain access
to the window. Additionally, children shouldn’t
be left unattended near a window, particularly an open
window. Allowing children to play near windows, on fire
escapes, or on balconies could increase the risk that
an accident may occur. Accidents that involve falling
from high heights are often fatal, so it is extremely
important that safety precautions are taken.