Legal insight into Grenfell Tower tragedy

January 3, 2018

Categories Landlord and TenantReal Estate

There has been considerable media coverage on the fire at Grenfell Tower which occurred on the 14th June 2017 and killed 71 people.  Now, more than six months since the tragedy, there has been a recent surge in publicity.  A memorial service was attended by royalty and we are informed that over half those who survived the tragedy have yet to be permanently re-housed.

We have several enquiries going on:

  • the official Public Enquiry (headed by Sir Martin Moore-Bick),
  • the Inquiry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and,
  • the review into building regulations and fire safety (being carried out by Dame Judith Hackitt).  Dame Judith Hackitt is about to make a preliminary report with the final report being published at a later date.  Her recent preliminary comments are that there should be a “culture change” in addition to a change in the building regulations themselves and, importantly, how they are enforced.

What has perhaps not made so many headlines is the outcome of a legal review of the current housing law in this country.  A report was commissioned by Shelter (the housing charity) carried out by academics at the universities of Kent and Bristol entitled: “Closing the Gaps: Health and Safety at Home”.

It stated housing laws in the U.K. are “inadequate” and “outdated” and legislation is “piecemeal”.  It recommends a new “Housing (Health and Safety at Home) Act” to create a more unified approach by the law to tenant protection and safety.  It calls, too, for a “cultural change”. 

I recommend that you read this report (see link below).  You will see ideas and recommendations of changes which can be made to property law itself and, also, it calls for cooperation and accountability of those who plan, build and look after these buildings.

Hopefully, with all these reports and enquiries, progress will be made in the legislation and how it is enforced and a cultural change will take place to ensure that safety is paramount.

For further information about this blog or legal matters and commercial property, contact Liz Brady on 01227 763939.