Grenfell flats: not HMOs

We recently submitted our input for the consultation on building safety following the Grenfell tower disaster: “Building a safer future: proposals for reform of the building safety regulatory system”.

You can read our letter here:

Incredible as it might seem, none of the flats in Grenfell Tower would have been classified as a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO), no matter how many occupants they might have had, due to the exclusion of purpose-built flats in the 2018 Prescribed Description Order. The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea does not have an additional or selective licensing scheme, therefore only the mandatory scheme applies. Up until October 2018, only properties with 3 stories could be classified as a HMO for which licensing was mandatory. The 3 stories restriction was removed by the 2018 order, but specifically excluded purpose-built flats such as those in blocks like Grenfell Tower.

This is the ‘low-hanging fruit’ in terms of improving safety of all flats in purpose-built blocks that may have HMOs…and most do. The Government should make it a priority to remove this exclusion and bring all such flats (and blocks) under the protection of the HMO regime.