The Government seeks to bring forward new legislation to keep residents’ safe and is inviting views on a new building safety regime, as well as launching a new home ownership scheme specific for residents of Grenfell.
Following research into building safety culture it is apparent that too many in the building industry were taking short cuts that could endanger residents. Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the Government commissioned Dame Judith Hackitt, a chemical engineer, and former chair of the UK Health and Safety Executive, to review the system and find out how it can be improved. Stage One of the review came to a conclusion back in May 2018, with a date not yet set for the second stage of review.
Government consultation and clearer accountability
Launched on 6 June, the consultation proposes a stronger voice for residents of high-rise buildings to ensure their concerns aren’t ignored. They have created a system of ‘dutyholders’, people who will have responsibility for keeping residents safe, and making sure building regulations are followed.
MHCLG Improving building safety
Home ownership for Grenfell residents
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has written to residents about home ownership schemes, specifically designed for Grenfell residents to ensure that those who would like to own their own home, have a route onto the housing ladder at a similar cost to before the tragedy. This includes a Statutory Right to Buy and a new scheme aimed at Grenfell residents called the Grenfell Assisted Home Ownership Scheme. A copy of the letter to residents can be viewed here.
Government take over
The official opposition has unveiled a radical proposal in the week of the second anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire, part of a five-point plan aimed at forcing private owners of potentially dangerous tower blocks to act. Labour has called for the Government to take over any private blocks which will have the Grenfell-style cladding on them by the end of the year.
Labour is urging the Government to name and shame private owners with blocks still wrapped in aluminium composite material (ACM). A total of 164 private blocks out of 175 identified as having ACM cladding have yet to be fixed, as the latest data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government shows.
This follows an announcement from MHCLG last month, in which Communities Secretary James Brokenshire MP announced around £200 million will be made available to remove and replace unsafe cladding from the privately-owned high-rise buildings known to be cladded with ACM. The Government press release can be viewed here.
Contentious legal action
Reports of more than 100 Grenfell survivors and relatives have opened lawsuit proceedings in the US against three firms they blame for the fire have circulated in the press. But not every Grenfell family has decided to join, with some uneasy about pursuing damages claim outside the UK. Cited as being a distraction from pursuing Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council and the Tenant Management Organisation responsible for the tower. More on the BBC News can be found here.
Keep learning and complying with Propertymark
In 2019 we produced a new Fact Sheet on the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 and updated our Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Fact Sheet as a resource for our members to download outlining the most up to date guidance on how to comply.
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Propertymark is the go-to organisation for any questions relating to property, where we help protect and guide consumers in all property transactions. Our guide for landlords on safety responsibilities outlines it’s more than smoke alarms and gas checks, which is a useful resource to keep compliant and your tenants safe.
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