Academics scrutinising housing legislation after Grenfell Tower fire

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Researchers have started scrutinising housing laws for shortcomings after concerns about the adequacy of tenants' legal rights were raised by the Grenfell Tower fire.

Homelessness charity Shelter has tasked academics at the universities of Bristol and Kent with identifying potential gaps in current legislation which undermine the safety of homes.

Renters, owner-occupiers, lawyers and other professionals have been asked to provide evidence to the study, with a report on the findings expected to be published this November.

Floral tributes outside Notting Hill Methodist Church
Floral tributes outside Notting Hill Methodist Church (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The deadly inferno in June is alleged to have occurred against a backdrop of ignored warnings about fire safety from those living in the building.

Shelter said it was hoping to establish how the legal rights of tenants could be strengthened, according to the study's online survey.

It will aim to unearth any holes in the legislation which compromise the safety of houses or prevent households from remedying problems, as well as identifying where lack of enforcement could fetter legal protections.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: "In the most horrifying way possible, the Grenfell fire has shown that our laws fail to protect people's right to a safe and decent home.

"Through our frontline work we see just how hard it is for thousands of people living in poor conditions to tackle safety concerns or legally challenge their landlord.

"That's why we are asking leading academics to help us expose all of the current failings to demonstrate the case for urgent reform. Our goal is to get the government to make the legal changes necessary to prevent a tragedy like Grenfell from happening again."

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Housing legislation is the latest issue to be placed under the microscope following the country's most costly tragedy in a generation.

A review into building regulations was launched when a nationwide audit found hundreds of high-rise towers encased in flammable cladding similar to that used on Grenfell.

The public inquiry into the disaster will also begin this month, with the deadline for applications to become a core participant due to pass on Friday.

At least 80 people died when flames engulfed the 24-storey block while hundreds more were left homeless.