Rehousing Grenfell Victims: Hortensia Road Fire Risks

Following the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy which happened in June 2017, many survivors from Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk have yet to be rehomed in safe, permanent accommodation.  In November 2017, Sajid Javid addressed the issue of rehousing in a letter to all residents stating:

“The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) continues to focus on rehousing as a priority. They are securing 300 homes by Christmas for families from Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk, and these are being communicated through their website and other channels. They have also told us that they will support you in finding temporary homes in the private rented sector if you prefer, and you can speak with their housing officers about this.”

A year after the unfortunate events, it was reported that, out of the 203 households from Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk, the amount of survivors now living in a permanent home was 83 and the amount living in temporary accommodation was 52.  A large number were also reportedly living in emergency and temporary accommodation, including hotels and serviced apartments.

The Council bought 300 properties to provide accommodation for the survivors of the fire. A small number of the survivors have been placed in flats on Hortensia Road.

Hortensia Road Homes

As part of the Grenfell rehousing process, 31 flats in a high-rise tower block were obtained by Kensington and Chelsea Council in July 2018 to accommodate survivors of the Grenfell tragedy. A risk assessment was carried out on the property on Hortensia Road which concluded that the building was at a high risk of fire.

A number of fire hazards were reported in the risk assessment, including cladding, which was at risk of combustion, combustible materials situated close to ignition sources, a non-functioning smoke extraction system, as well as inadequate evacuation procedures for disabled residents.

The shadow minister, Sarah Jones MP stated:

“Two years after Grenfell, 60,000 people are still living in tower blocks with deadly ACM cladding, 95% of council blocks still don’t have sprinklers, and countless more could be at risk because the government has failed to do safety checks on most tower blocks.”

The fire hazards reported in this risk assessment emphasize the fact that the Grenfell disaster may be the first of many large-scale fires with catastrophic outcomes.

The extent of injuries, damage to property and deaths caused by the Grenfell fire were a result of the failure of local government and contractors to provide properties which were safe for residents.

The decision to place survivors of the Grenfell tower fire in another block of flats with such serious fire hazards could be deemed irresponsible and careless.

Is My Accommodation Safe from Fire Risks?

With a huge amount of tower blocks in the UK still covered in unsafe cladding, it is not surprising that the safety of residents in a large amount of social housing and privately rented accommodation is at risk.

Fire hazards can be limited in rented accommodation if the landlord has followed the correct procedures to ensure the property is safe. It is your landlord’s duty to:

•             Provide working smoke alarms on each floor of the property.

•             Test appliances regularly.

•             Ensure any furniture supplied meets fire safety standards.

•             Ensure appliances, such as cookers and heating appliances, are not situated close to flammable materials and fire exits.

You should inform your landlord immediately if you notice any fire hazards within your rented property.

How Can Bishop, Lloyd & Jackson Solicitors Assist?

Bishop Lloyd and Jackson specialise in dealing with civil action on inappropriately cladded properties, and in bringing personal injury and losses claims for damage arising as a result of fire/housing disrepair within social housing, leasehold and rented properties. We are currently representing a number of victims who were affected by the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy.

If you have suffered from any sort of damage caused by an accidental fire or disrepair, you may be entitled to receive compensation from the party responsible.

More information can be found on our Fire Safety and Housing Disrepair pages. If you need advice on this area, please feel free to contact us.

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