Advertisement
Housing

Britain’s housing safety ‘inadequate,’ report finds

Study commissioned by Shelter finds current regulations obscure and outdated

Housing safety laws are not up to scratch, according to a new report by Shelter.

The study – conducted by Universities of Bristol and Kent researchers in the wake of the deadly Grenfell Tower fire – discovered 85% of housing professionals believe current rules and regulations are failing to protect the nation’s tenants.

Shelter called for an overhaul in safety standards.

They’ve failed so catastrophically that those living in social housing are no longer safe

“The laws which are meant to protect people in their homes are inadequate and outdated, stretching back to the Victorian times,” said the charity’s chief executive Polly Neate.

“They’ve failed so catastrophically that those living in social housing are no longer safe.”

The academics surveyed tenants as well as landlords and housing lawyers for the report “Closing The Gaps: Health And Safety In Housing.” They found that confusing web of current legislation was divorced from housing problems as residents have experienced them.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Some local authorities had said they did not want to place “unnecessarily burdensome” demands on builders, landlords and management groups. And cuts to legal aid have made raising housing safety cases more difficult.

“It’s shocking, it’s concerning, it’s ludicrous, ridiculous and dangerous,” said David Cowan, one of the report’s authors.

Last week, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called on the government to find £1 billion to install fire safety sprinklers in all high-rise social housing (blocks over 30 metres tall).

“The evidence is overwhelming,” said Corbyn. “When almost every authoritative source on the matter is saying the same thing – that retrofitting of sprinklers is necessary in high-rise housing – this measure is just common sense and will protect thousands of lives.

“Grenfell was an avoidable tragedy. It did not have to happen and it would not have happened if adequate precautions, including sprinklers, were in place.”

A public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire continues.

Advertisement

Bigger Issues need bigger solutions

Big Issue Group is creating new solutions through enterprise to unlock opportunities for the 14.5 million people living in poverty to earn, learn and thrive. Big Issue Group brings together our media and investment initiatives as well as a diverse and pioneering range of new solutions, all of which aim to dismantle poverty by creating opportunity. Learn how you can change lives today.

Recommended for you

Read All
Number of tenants being evicted by landlords for rent arrears is highest since records began
Renting

Number of tenants being evicted by landlords for rent arrears is highest since records began

Over 1,300 Ukraine refugees have faced homelessness since arriving in England
Housing

Over 1,300 Ukraine refugees have faced homelessness since arriving in England

Sadiq Khan's Right to Buy-back scheme leads to return of 1,500 council homes
Right to Buy

Sadiq Khan's Right to Buy-back scheme leads to return of 1,500 council homes

This evaporating pavement art is highlighting how heatwaves are a threat to rough sleepers
UK HEATWAVE

This evaporating pavement art is highlighting how heatwaves are a threat to rough sleepers

Most Popular

Read All
All the places where kids can eat free during the summer holidays
1.

All the places where kids can eat free during the summer holidays

This Twitter bot is exposing celebrities taking three-minute private jet flights
2.

This Twitter bot is exposing celebrities taking three-minute private jet flights

Will free school meals and vouchers be offered over the summer holidays?
3.

Will free school meals and vouchers be offered over the summer holidays?

Estate agents caught saying they don't rent homes to people on benefits
4.

Estate agents caught saying they don't rent homes to people on benefits

Keep up to date with the Big Issue. The leading voice on life, politics, culture and social activism direct to your inbox.