Property Managers balance many different tasks; from rent collection to maintenance, accounting services to inspections. Their hands are full! Whether you provide window treatments, or your tenant chooses their own —all these windows need to be covered.
The 2018 Window Covering Safety Standards will open your eyes to substantially higher line item costs, as well as the look and operation of blinds. In addition, property managers are being forced to face the liability associated with window covering purchases, because national safety boards recognize the lack of control tenants have in choosing safe products that do not pose strangulation risks to children. In commercial, multi-family and even hospitality properties, the building owner/manager typically dictates building standard window treatments. Therefore, tenants/guests do not always know how to properly operate window coverings to keep their children safe from danger.
Many of our customers are inquiring how the recently adopted standards will impact their responsibility to tenants, as well as their bottom line. As all window covering manufacturers are in process of implementing the required changes, it is important that property managers understand the impacts that face their business in the coming year.
Key Points for New Window Treatment Requirements
Multi-Family Property Managers
Stock products, like 1″ vinyl mini blinds, vertical blinds and 2″ faux which are typically used in multi-family communities, must be cordless as of December 15, 2018. Our manufacturers, such as Graber, Lotus & Windoware, Marietta Drapery & Hunter Douglas will no longer inventory corded products.
Commercial Property Managers
Custom products, typically used in commercial buildings, are permitted to have cords, but the cord standard length has been decreased to no greater than 40% of the shade height. You will also find vertical blinds will need to have a valance on them, or the bright orange warning label will challenge interior design. These blinds typically come from Springs Window Fashions, Graber or Hunter Douglas and are considered custom, because they truly are made-to-measure.
What Property Managers Need to Know
The Window Covering Manufacturers Association (WCMA) regulates the guidelines for window covering industry manufacturers, fabricators and assemblers. The window treatments represented in this industry include, but are not limited to: blinds, shades, shutters, curtains, curtain rods, drapes and drapery hardware. On January 9, 2018 the WCMA agreed upon and updated the 2018 window treatment safety standards.
With its adoption, manufacturers of window treatments must comply with WMCA cordless stock blind requirements by December 15, 2018. Any unmet requirements by this deadline will face enforcement action from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and/or legal action if non-compliant products are sold.
Property Managers should also know:
- Not only are the cordless blinds more costly to produce, but manufacturers will be stocking fewer sizes, leading to increased costs for blind cut down or shortening. These expenses can be minimized in 2018 but will impact 2019 budgets significantly.
- Safety labels are only to be removed by the window covering user, not the landlord or manager. If you will not be replacing all existing window treatments with upgraded compliance products, you may be held accountable for accidents. While it is suggested that you get personalized legal advice, Property Management Connections (PMC) recommends all lease documentation copies include updated Safety Graphic Labels and warnings for your tenants.
- Vertical blinds will all come with a safety warning label dominantly placed on the front of the track. You are NOT permitted to remove this label. If, for design sake, these labels need to be covered, we recommend installing valances on all of your vertical blinds. You must still ensure tenants are advised of the risk of corded blind strangulation.
- If PMC will be installing your window treatments, we will leave all safety tags and labels in place at the completion of our install.
Contact us for further information on how these regulations will impact your stock blind purchasing process, ways to retrofit your existing blinds or for more information about the impact of these safety standards.