University of Kent backs call for law to protect tenants in their homes after Grenfell Tower fire

PUBLISHED: 12:23 14 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:23 14 November 2017

Grenfell Fire. Photo: Rick Findler/PA Wire

Grenfell Fire. Photo: Rick Findler/PA Wire

More than 80 people were killed in the tragedy in west London back in June

The University of Kent has called for a new Housing Act to be introduced - five months on from the Grenfell Tower fire.

More than 80 people were killed in the tragedy in west London back in June and now academics, along with colleagues from the University of Bristol, have carried out research for the housing charity Shelter and found housing laws that are “out-dated, complex and patchily enforced”.

The university, which has campuses in Canterbury and Medway, also found tenants wanting to remedy defects in their homes face “numerous and often insurmountable barriers to justice”.

The report, ‘Closing the Gaps – Health and Safety at Home’, recommends the law needs to evolve and that occupiers should no longer be treated as posing health and safety risks.

Instead they should be treated as consumers of housing with enforceable rights to ensure minimum standards are adhered to. The state needs to accept its role as the primary enforcer of those standards.

The report also calls a cultural change, so that those responsible for the health and safety of occupiers become pro-active in fulfilling those responsibilities.

It recommends a new Housing (Health and Safety in the Home) Act which is tenure neutral, modern and relevant to contemporary health and safety issues, and which encourages and provides resources for pro-activity by statutory authorities.

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