The son of a New Orleans couple who died in an Airbnb rental from carbon monoxide poisoning says the international home rental company needs to do more to make sure travelers who use the website to book accommodations are safe.
Chris Moller told New Orleans’ WWL TV that Airbnb needs to implement stricter requirements of property owners to ensure tragedies like the one that claimed the lives of his mother and stepfather never happen again.
Mr. Moller’s parents were in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, in November to look for a home to live in part-time. On Nov. 17, the second day of their trip, they were asphyxiated by CO emissions from a faulty heater inside their Airbnb rental home.
The deaths of Mr. Winders and Ms. Mollers were a loss not just for their family and friends but for the impoverished and disempowered communities in the U.S. and the world.
Mr. Winders served on the board of the National Salvation Army. Ms. Moller founded Paper to Pearls, an organization that helps Ugandan refugees earn an income by turning scrap paper into colorful enameled jewelry. Together, the couple founded Voices for a Global Change, an organization focused on giving marginalized people more participation in the economic, political, and social life of their communities and countries.
“It’s tragic that it had to happen to my parents but it should be a real wake-up call for everybody that you don’t know what you’re renting exactly and safeguard yourself and bring your own detectors,” Mr. Moller told WWL TV.
He is pressing Airbnb to implement more measures to ensure the homes listed on the site are safe to rent. In his eyes, the company should maintain an inspection system for properties listed on the site.
“Airbnb is a leader in the hospitality and vacation rental world; we would like to call on them to create an inspection system within their platform,” Mr. Moller told WWL TV.
Airbnb already lists whether properties on the website are equipped with carbon monoxide detectors, and it provides CO detectors free of charge to Airbnb property owners who need one. But Mr. Moller says it’s not enough because the device that could have saved his parents’ lives remains optional.