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Press Releases - County Council

Council approves bill to enhance housing safety for tenants and families

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Legislation will require landlords to add window guards to certain multifamily residential dwelling units 

 

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 6, 2021—Today, the Council voted unanimously to approve Bill-51-20 - Landlord-Tenant Relations – Window Guards, which would require the installation of window guards to protect children from the risk of falling. Council President Hucker is the lead sponsor, Council Vice President Albornoz and Councilmembers Navarro, Rice, Riemer, Katz and Jawando are co-sponsors. 

"No parent should ever have to worry about a child falling from an apartment window. But, tragically, families in our own community have experienced severe injuries or death of a child due to window falls," Council President Hucker said. "This important legislation will save lives, and I am so proud that it passed with the unanimous support of my colleagues." 

Bill 51-20 was first introduced by Council President Hucker on Dec. 8, 2020. The bill will require a landlord of a multifamily dwelling to install and maintain a window guard in each window of a habitable room under certain circumstances. Two such circumstances are if a child younger than 11 years of age occupies the dwelling, or if a tenant of the dwelling requests in writing the installation of window guards.  

Under the bill, a landlord would be required to include the window guard requirements within a lease or an addendum to the lease. The landlord would not be permitted to charge a tenant for the installation or maintenance of window guards. 

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital reports that, “Each year in the U.S. 15 to 20 children under the age of 11 die and nearly 15,000 are injured because of falls from windows.”  

Multiple children have died or been seriously injured by falling from windows in our own community. As recently as October, a two-year-old boy died after he fell from a third-floor apartment in Takoma Park. In May 2020, a toddler was injured from falling from an upper-story window in Gaithersburg. In 2019, a two-year-old boy fell from an 11th-floor window and was seriously hurt in Takoma Park. This bill is meant to prevent future tragedies of this nature. 

The Council staff report for this bill can be viewed here.  

 

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Release ID: 21-137
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926 , Genevieve Kurtz 240-777-7937