Short Term Rental Safety In North Carolina

Weston’s Law And The Need For Enhanced Safety Measures

Premises liability law for short term rental safety is a critical facet of personal injury law, safeguarding the rights of individuals who may suffer injuries on someone else’s property. It compels property owners to maintain safe conditions and provide clear warnings about potential dangers, ultimately protecting lawful visitors from preventable harm. When property owners neglect these duties, they can be held liable for damages, which often include compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, and emotional distress. 

In a tragic short term rental safety case in the town of Corolla, NC, the elevator in a beach rental property played a fatal role when seven-year-old Weston Androw was fatally crushed between the inner and outer layers. The incident is not unique, highlighting how unregulated short-term rentals in North Carolina can pose serious hazards, especially when essential safety elements like elevators are involved. It stands as a heart-wrenching reminder of the critical importance of stringent safety measures, regular inspections, and the unyielding enforcement of premises liability law in the domain of short-term rentals. This somber event brings an urgent call to action to the forefront of lawmakers, property owners, and the community at large’s consciousness.

What actions can be taken to effectively prevent and mitigate these unfortunate incidents? It is crucial to understand the root causes that led to their occurrence in the first place. At Miller Law Group, we are dedicated to thoroughly investigating and  advocating for transformative changes in how we approach safety, liability, and enforcing short-term rentals and premises laws. Our mission is to create a safer and more accountable environment for all.


Understanding North Carolina Short Term Rental Safety Laws

In North Carolina, a short-term rental property is typically defined as a residential property that is rented out to vacationers or other tenants for a brief period. This could range from a few days to a few months, depending on the agreement between the landlord and the tenant.

The state imposes minimal regulations on the vacation rental industry. This ostensibly aims to ensure the short term rental safety of guests without imposing an undue burden on property owners and operators. Landlords must provide fit premises, which includes compliance with building and housing codes, maintaining the property in a habitable condition, ensuring safe common areas, and providing operable smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.

However, North Carolina lacks more stringent requirements for operating short-term rentals. Unlike some locations, owners and operators are not required to register with the local government or obtain a permit or permission under the building or housing code to rent or lease their property. Even though local ordinances can require some other development approval, like a zoning compliance permit for land use, they cannot impose a registration program.

These lax regulations make North Carolina one of the more attractive locations for short-term rental investments. But, while this regulatory environment may benefit property owners, it may also contribute to short term rental safety and accountability concerns, as highlighted by tragic incidents such as the elevator accident in Corolla.


Weston’s Law And The Enhancement Of Short Term Rental Safety

The absence of stringent elevator safety regulations in North Carolina’s short-term rental properties is a glaring safety concern for vacationers. Despite the state’s popularity as a vacation destination, elevators in these rentals are not subject to the same rigorous inspections as commercial elevators. This loophole could potentially expose guests to unnecessary risks, as tragically demonstrated in Corolla to the Androw family.

“Weston’s Law,” named in memory of 7-year-old Weston Androw, is a legislative measure designed to address the precarious lack of elevator safety regulations in North Carolina’s short-term rental properties. This law mandates that properties used for short-term rentals – particularly those equipped with residential elevators – undergo annual safety inspections. Moreover, it requires the installation of a space guard to prevent instances of children becoming trapped, a tragic circumstance that has previously resulted in fatalities. By targeting homes used for short-term rentals, “Weston’s Law” represents a significant step towards enhancing short term rental safety measures and preventing future accidents from occurring in these properties.


What Is Premises Liability?

Premises liability is a legal concept that arises in personal injury cases where the injury was caused by some type of unsafe or defective condition on someone’s property. Under North Carolina law, property owners and residents have a duty to maintain a safe environment for visitors. A premises liability claim may be made following an injury for a rental owner’s negligence or failure to maintain short term rental safety conditions.

When To Seek A Short Term Rental Lawyer

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury on someone else’s property due to unsafe conditions, and you suspect negligence on the part of the property owner, it is advisable to consult with a Premises Liability lawyer as soon as possible. A legal expert in premises liability can guide you through the complexities of your case. We will help identify if you have a valid claim and help you pursue the compensation you may be entitled to for medical bills, loss of income,