North Carolina short-term rental property owners have a little over two months to implement improved safety standards for residential elevators included in legislation signed by Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday.
Cooper signed House Bill 619, sponsored by Rep. Timothy Moffitt, R-Henderson, to require owners of vacation cottages or similar short-term rentals to implement measures to improve the safety of residential elevators. The law was inspired by a child’s death at a beach home in Corolla last year.
“This law requires much-needed safety measures for elevators in short-term rentals, and while this action sadly can’t reverse the tragedy that killed Weston Androw, it does mean better protection to prevent future injuries and deaths,” Cooper said.
Weston’s Law is named after 7-year-old Weston Androw, who died in July 2021 after he was trapped between an elevator car and elevator shaft while visiting the Outer Banks with his family from Ohio. EMS workers quickly freed the child but were unable to resuscitate him.
The bill gives owners and landlords operating short-term rentals with residential elevators until Oct. 1 to reduce the gap between the landing and elevator car doors to no more than 4 inches, by installing a space guard on the landing floor, The Associated Press reports.
The bill also mandates minimum force requirements for elevator car doors and gates, which must be documented with the N.C. Department of Insurance.
Weston’s parents, Timeka and David Androw, advocated for the changes.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a warning to vacation rental platforms, AirBnB, Vrbo, Trip Advisor and others to require owners to disable home elevators following Weston’s death.
CPSC Acting Chairman Robert Alder urged the companies in a letter to disable the elevators, describing how children “some as young as two, and as old as 12, have been crushed to death” by getting trapped in the gap between inner and outer doors of residential elevators. While several deaths have occurred, “others have suffered devastating and lifelong injuries,” according to the CPSC.
Alder called on the companies to immediately notify all renters of the potential hazard and to disable elevators with the dangerous gap until the issue is addressed.
In January, the CPSC announced three leading elevator manufacturers – Bella Elevator, Inclinator Company of America, and Savaria Corporation – agreed to voluntarily recall about 69,000 residential elevators due to the issue.
The recalls involved numerous models manufactured between 1979 and 2021.
“Industry and the CPSC still have work to do. We have not yet been able to reach agreements with all of the elevator companies to fix their residential elevators that pose the same potentially fatal entrapment hazard and in one case sued a company to force a fix,” CPSC Chairman Axexander Hoehn-Saric said in January. “As long as this hazard persists, I am committed to continuing this work and preventing future entrapment injuries and deaths.”