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New window safety laws for owners of strata units

Children can and do fall out of windows. In NSW in 2011-2012 there were 39 children, aged nine years or younger, hospitalised due to falls from window.

The NSW Government has passed legislation amending the Strata and Residential tenancies legislation requiring that owners corporations install safety devices on all windows that pose a safety risk to young children, allow owners to install safety devices regardless of the by-laws of the strata scheme and include window safety devices in the prescribed condition report for rental premises.

Windows above the ground floor will need to have safety devices installed allowing the window to be opened to a maximum of 12.5cm when the lock is engaged. Owners corporations will be given five years to fit window safety devices.

Australian Medical Association NSW President, A/Prof Brian Owler, commended the NSW Government’s commitment to protecting children from window falls:

Similar laws were introduced in New York in the 1970s and this resulted in a 96% decrease in hospitalisations due to falls from windows.

Source: Media release, 18 September 2013.

The new legislation

Strata Schemes Management Amendment (Child Window Safety Devices) Bill 2013. This Bill passed both houses and received assent on 29 October 2013.  See Strata Schemes Management Amendment (Child Window Safety Devices) Act 2013 (NSW). This Act has not yet commenced operation.

Background reports that contributed to this legislative change

Media responses