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News 5 Investigation helps spark new bill targeting elevator breakdowns around Ohio

News 5 investigation helps spark new bill in OH Senate hoping to help residents suffering through elevator breakdowns
Posted at 3:17 PM, Oct 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-14 18:37:11-04

CLEVELAND — If you’ve ever had problems with elevators in your building, help could be on the way. After our News 5 investigation last April into problematic elevators, a new state bill could address concerns of residents.

We interviewed state Sen. Sandra Williams during that initial report, showing her several people in poor health who’ve put up with elevators being shut down for days and weeks on end. Williams said she, too, had gotten complaints and has taken the issue to heart. “My mom lives in a senior citizen building, and at one point the elevator was out for months,” Williams said.

Reporting all elevator outages
Williams just introduced Senate Bill 244. It states that building owners would have to let the state know every time an elevator is out of service. The state would keep a public list of broken elevators, and Ohio would contact owners within three days to check on the outages. “Some bad actors won’t do anything,” said Williams. “And this is one way that I believe that we can start addressing this issue systemically.”

The bill also has language stating that if an elevator is out for more than four days, reasonable accommodations have to be made to residents who rely on the elevator.

Landlord association's reaction
“We really try to deal with the professional, respected apartment owner,” said Ralph McGreevy, the CEO of the Northern Ohio Apartment Association that represents many landlords. He told us there are thorough inspections already done by federal programs like HUD. Plus, the state keeps track of elevators. “They’re all inspected on a regular schedule,” said McGreevy. “So, the state has an idea long before it happens of who the good operators are and who the bad operators are.”

We also caught up with Eric Allen, from our original report, who lives on the fifth floor of a building in Euclid. He told us the senator’s bill is a great step forward for helping those battling constant elevator breakdowns. “I believe that the property owners should be held accountable, 100%,” he told us.

'Calls from all over the state'
Williams said she heard from residents around Ohio after our investigation. “I got calls from all over the state from people who saw it on the internet,” she said.

“Nobody wants an elevator to go down,” said McGreevy, who pointed out that many times the parts for elevators are hard to come by, even needing to be imported from overseas. Plus, each building contracts with major elevator repair companies to take care of issues that come up.

“It’s about making sure people are living a humane life and also having the basics that they need,” said Williams, who suggested that if you have problems with your elevators, write your state legislators.

RELATED: 'It's just not right!' — Disabled residents sound off on repeated elevator breakdowns

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