After several children have died or been injured after falling out of residential windows in Montgomery County in recent years, window guards will now be required in all apartments with children up to age 10.
The County Council unanimously approved the legislation, spearheaded by Council President Tom Hucker, on Tuesday.
In mid-October, a 2-year-old boy died after falling from a third-floor apartment window in Takoma Park. In May, a toddler was injured after falling out of an upper-story window at a seven-floor apartment building and landing on pavement in Gaithersburg.
In 2019, a 2-year-old boy fell from an 11th-floor window in Takoma Park and was seriously injured.
“These are completely avoidable,” Hucker said. “I think it’s important that our housing code reflects the priorities that none of these additional falls should happen on our watch.”
Under the bill, landlords would also have to install the guards at any tenant’s request and include the window guard requirements within a lease or an addendum to the lease.
The lease or addendum must include a statement, signed by the tenant, that indicates whether a child age 10 or younger lives in the unit.
The cost of the installation and maintenance of the window guards could not be charged to tenants. The county’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs would enforce the requirements.
The bill goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2022. It does not apply to ground-floor and basement windows, windows containing air-conditioning units, or windows not designed to open.
Council Member Hans Riemer said an easy fix could have prevented the tragedies.
“It’s not clear that there are inexpensive options for internal window guards. … There’s no reason not to have a requirement that an apartment unit or condo that is rented. that has children in it. will have guards installed unless the occupant does not want that,” he said.
Briana Adhikusuma can be reached at email@example.com.