Mark Whitehead 15 November 2017

Call to reform ‘outdated’ housing law in wake of Grenfell tragedy

Call to reform ‘outdated’ housing law in wake of Grenfell tragedy

A new Housing Act should emphasise councils' responsibility to enforce health and safety standards in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy, campaigners have demanded.

Housing charity Shelter says current housing laws are ‘out-dated, complex and patchily enforced’.

The recommendation comes five months after the tower block fire in which at least 80 people died.

Researchers at the Universities of Bristol and Kent reviewed existing laws and surveyed 1,000 people with a role in the housing sector including tenants and landlords.

They found 85% of professionals believe housing health and safety law is 'not fit for purpose after years of neglect and deregulation.'

They say outdated laws have left social landlords 'unpoliced, unaccountable and free to ignore their tenants'.

A new law should require that health and safety guidance is updated every three years and occupiers should be able to hold landlords and managers to account for fire safety regulations more easily.

Shelter’s chief executive, Polly Neate, said: 'The laws which are meant to protect people in their homes are inadequate and outdated, stretching back to the Victorian times.

'Grenfell highlighted many wider issues we need to address as a society, and it’s crucial that people in social housing now have stronger rights and a more powerful voice.'

 
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