/ Grenfell tower property seizure

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MG - on 18 Jun 2017
Does this proposal strike anyone else as outrageous? It seems to be taking a horrible situation and suggesting using it so the state can arbitrarily take property from people deemed "bad" by the politicians proposing it.

Clearly, those affected need housing and support but we aren't talking about huge numbers. With some effort this mus be possible within a few days (or hours) and within a few miles of their Grenfall Tower. If need be funding taxis or whatever for a period so their lives aren't disrupted.
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Postmanpat on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:
Straight out of the Ralph Miliband extra- parliamentary playbook.(of whom Corbyn was a much bigger fan than his sons) The law and parliament stand in the way of socialism so must be overthrown by direct action in the name of justice. McDonnell has already encouraged union demos to seize power. None of Corbyn's political exploitation of a tragedy should be a surprise.

Police on the streets protecting the property of the rich? Not a good look.

And for the "whatabouters" May has demonstrated herself badly unsuited to the role of PM.
Post edited at 14:36
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gethin_allen on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

The only way it could happen would be by compulsory purchase order and for this the owners would have to be suitably compensated. This would be very very expensive so is unlikely to happen.
Hooo - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

I think this is an issue that has been brewing for a while in London, and this disaster has brought it to a head.
As a wealthy civilised society we should be able to ensure that all our citizens have access to the basic necessities of life. This includes water, food, clean air, health care and a place to live. In London, people are struggling to find a home, but huge numbers of properties stand empty. If people were starving while others hoarded food as an investment, we would have no qualms about requisitioning it. Why not with homes?
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Postmanpat on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to gethin_allen:
> The only way it could happen would be by compulsory purchase order and for this the owners would have to be suitably compensated. This would be very very expensive so is unlikely to happen.

Or, as Corbyn suggested, simply by "occupying" them.
Post edited at 14:55
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MG - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Hooo:
There may or may not be problems with housing. If so, the way absolutely not to deal with it is to use a disaster as an excuse to suggest appropriation of property.
Post edited at 15:09
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MG - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to gethin_allen:

McDowell suggested new legislation to allow seizure (i.e. state theft) of property.
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DancingOnRock - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

Breaking and entering? That's illegal. You'd certainly get somewhere to live, but probably not in the place you expected.
elsewhere on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

> McDowell suggested new legislation to allow seizure (i.e. state theft) of property.

An escalating tax if unoccupied to make buy to leave unattractive makes more sense.
La benya - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

At work we were asked to contact all our property owning clients that may have available property in the area to help with the relief. You can imagine how many properties were volunteered. Property to the value of over £10 billion in the west end and not one property was offered to help these people.
summo on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

If the will was there they could block book a couple of hotels.

Special tax on top of existing rates for profits from property that wasn't your main residence would solve the profiteering.
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Hooo - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:
I can't see it happening, and I don't think actual requisitioning is the way to go, but it is a conversation that we need to have.
Why should the rights of property owners trump the rights of people to the necessities of life? I think it's perfectly reasonable to question why some people should be able to sit on empty property while others are homeless. The idea of an absolute right to own property is so ingrained that it seems outrageous to question it, but it's not fundamental to civilisation.
Post edited at 15:28
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Hephaestus - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:
I don't think it's outrageous to suggest that empty houses are used temporarily to help in an emergency. Who with a heart would refuse? Oh yeah, multi millionaire moguls who make their money shitting on anyone with less power than they have.
Nearly 1400 properties in Kensington lie as empty investments for the rich while social housing is underfunded, poorly maintained, refurbished with illegal (according to Phil Hammond) materials and left as death traps. Nice reflection on our country and politicians.
Whether or not properties are requisitioned, at least McDonald's demands highlight the issue.
Post edited at 15:31
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Moley on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

The idea would be laughable, but I'm sure many will think it a great scheme to "stuff it to the rich" whilst getting a good pad. And believe it will happen if only JC comes to power.
I don't agree with second homes standing empty, but to suggest a seizure is simply bonkers, tax them heavily and use the recoursces to build new homes by all means - if that was done on all holiday/second homes through the country it could raise some cash. Even in our little village we stare at empty properties.
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gethin_allen on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Hooo:

> I can't see it happening, and I don't think actual requisitioning is the way to go, but it is a conversation that we need to have.

> Why should the rights of property owners trump the rights of people to the necessities of life?

But you could re write this as "why should some people have money in the bank and others by going hungry?"
or "why should one person have a car if others have to take the bus?" Sure we should try to help even things up a bit but there will always be inequality.

Just think what would happen to the UK economy if investors felt the state could walk in and take peoples assets? Anyone in the country with money would move away with it and anyone outside the country would think twice and go elsewhere, and those with power and money would fiddle the system as they do with tax so only those with small investments would get boned.

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Postmanpat on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Hephaestus:
> I don't think it's outrageous to suggest that empty houses are used temporarily to help in an emergency. Who with a heart would refuse? Oh yeah, multi millionaire moguls who make their money shitting on anyone with less power than they have.

>
Well actually anyone who understands that the rule of law and property rights are a bedrock to the relative success of liberal democracies over the past 400 years. It is a key reason why people frim all over the world invest in and migrate to such countries instead of a
Banana republic which will sequester assets at the drop of a hat.

There may be case going foward for finding ways to limit ownership of empty properties but such knee jerk change is not it.
Post edited at 15:48
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Lord_ash2000 - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

> Does this proposal strike anyone else as outrageous? It seems to be taking a horrible situation and suggesting using it so the state can arbitrarily take property from people deemed "bad" by the politicians proposing it.

Completely outrageous yes, the idea of the state being able to seize private property of a law abiding citizen is a total red line for me, you start doing that and before long you're in some Stalinist dictatorship. I wouldn't care if there was an identical, empty tower block next door which could house them all, if the owner didn't want to let them in that is their choice.

Obviously if people wish to open their homes or empty properties for them to stay at that is their own choice, the government could even offer to pay rent to them or offer other intensives but fundamentally it has to be the free choice of the owner of the property.

But really, I know the fire is very tragic and a lot of people have died and everyone else has lost everything they own and it will cause a lot of disruption in their lives etc. But what do they expect? Yes there was a fire, so you're homeless and it doesn't matter who you are that is going to be a major upset in your life. Insurance will cover your belongings, the government is chipping in the equivalent of £40k per flat (for nothing more than good PR) and in time they will be settled in a new free property somewhere else.

Mean if my house burnt down tonight and I barley escaped with my life, I've loose all my stuff, and be homeless, I'd have to stay with friends or book a hotel or something and get on the phone to the insurance. It could easily be a year or more before the house is rebuilt and ready to move into. No one is going to go fundraising for me, or giving me £40k and all the rest of it. What is the real difference? Yes it is tragic because of the scale of it but really why are these people so special, why is their turmoil any more important than anyone else who's had family die in a fire and barley escaped themselves?
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Hooo - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to gethin_allen:

You're taking my point way beyond what I meant. A car is not a necessity of life. A home is.
I'm not in favour of a communist state. I accept the rights of people to own property, and get richer than others through their efforts.
But, there needs to be limits and redistribution. It's not acceptable for working people in a wealthy society to be struggling to obtain the necessities of life, and this is what is happening right now.
I don't object to people owning property, but they must put it to use. Keeping vital resources sitting idle when they are desperately needed is simply wrong, and we need to come up with a way to stop it.
If this scares the foreign investors away from property in London and brings about a price crash, then bring it on!
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MG - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

I agree. Expecting a state-provided like for like house in the same area within days seems a bit much to me.
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Postmanpat on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Hooo:
> If this scares the foreign investors away from property in London and brings about a price crash, then bring it on!
>
Can you think of any possible downsides to allowing people to "occupy" properties or allowing assets to be sequestered at the whim of the government?
Post edited at 15:58
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MG - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to La benya:
While in some ways a shocking response. Honestly, I think I too would be hesitant to rent high end property to unknown tennants forced out of council housing. Seeing a high rise in Glasgow a few years ago was a bit of an eye opener. The advice "don't touch the stair handrail, junkies tape needles to it" gives a flavour.
Post edited at 16:21
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steveriley - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to La benya:

On the other hand, someone I used to work who's now in estate agency was offering places last week. Gave me a warm glow and made a start on redeeming the reputation of that often fairly grubby trade.
Moley on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

I wonder if Jeremy Corbyn has been chatting on the phone to Robert Mugabe for ideas?
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wintertree - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to the thread:

Two thoughts:

1) I find it daft that so many houses sit empty when housing is needed. Conversely using all existing empty homes would only be a band aid for a few years, then the inexorable pressure of a population growing faster than the housing stock would take over again. Either way we need to raise the building rate or lower the population growth rate.

2) Corby should hang his head in shame at his opportunistic use of a human tragedy to further his political agenda. He should, I suggest, spend his time scrutinising the role past governments have played in terms of unsuitable legislation and/or enforcement, and pressing the current government to (a) fix the legislation/enforcement and (b) identify and fix other vulunerable properties. Twit.
Post edited at 16:43
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tom_in_edinburgh - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:
> Does this proposal strike anyone else as outrageous?

I don't agree with the proposal but I find it amazing that most people react with such disgust to the idea of the state seizing property but are quite fine with the state seizing a proportion of their income. It is a supreme achievement of the landowning class that they've completely convinced the majority of people that property must be protected at all costs but income and consumption taxes are not a problem.

My guess is the same thing will happen in Kensington as happened in New Orleans after Katrina, they'll use the disaster as an opportunity for gentrification. It has to be very tempting to wait until things calm down, declare all that social housing unsafe, move everybody out, demolish it and replace it with expensive flats.
Post edited at 16:49
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Murderous_Crow - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:
There are many layers to this problem.

The lack of significant Government spending on social housing *overall* to include the almost total lack of new builds across the country, and alternatives to high-rises and congested estates.

The assumption by many that it's ok to break up families, disrupt education, and damage employment prospects by sending families out of cities (particularly London) to live elsewhere.

The tendency by landlords to overcharge viciously in an unregulated housing market.

The tendency by pressure groups across the nation to oppose attempts at a meaningful housing resolution AKA nimbyism.

The shameful erosion of basic oversight and protections for the most disadvantaged in our society.

One trope unites all these themes, and it is ‘these people are not worthwhile’.

Feels to me like a significant thread of class discrimination going on here. It’s easy to over-simplify, to lack empathy and to stereotype when you’ve never lived at the sharp end.

Edited to add: that last is not a dig at your OP, just at some of the callous attitudes expressed in the thread so far.
Post edited at 17:13
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elsewhere on 18 Jun 2017
There was a thread recently about *each* tenant in a shared house needing a parent or relative to guarantee £32k rent for *all* tenants.

The difficulties of those trying to gain their independence seem dire. My generation had it easier.

Housing policies to penalise buy to leave, increase house building, build council houses, reduce rents and reduce prices must look attractive to young voters in London.

I like the idea that those in their twenties should be able to get housing sufficient to start a family on normal salaries.



wbo - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to wintertree: your point 1 only seems daft if you think that the point of this housing was to put people in. It isn't - it's an investment vehicle - same as gold, diamonds or a pension plan. People are an inconvenience (unless they're rich renters).

bouldery bits - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to wbo:

> People are an inconvenience.

Totally true.

Pero - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Hooo:

> I can't see it happening, and I don't think actual requisitioning is the way to go, but it is a conversation that we need to have.

> Why should the rights of property owners trump the rights of people to the necessities of life? I think it's perfectly reasonable to question why some people should be able to sit on empty property while others are homeless. The idea of an absolute right to own property is so ingrained that it seems outrageous to question it, but it's not fundamental to civilisation.

If you look here for the reasons for homelessness, you'll find that the problems are deeper and more complex than simply a lack of housing or the inequalities in our society.

http://england.shelter.org.uk/campaigns_/why_we_campaign/tackling_homelessness/What_causes_homelessn...
andy - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Murderous_Crow:
I live near Skipton, hardly a centre of housing deprivation, but there is a belief that we don't have enough affordable housing hereabouts. So the Council started to insist on a % of all developments having affordable (either to rent or buy) included.

A developer got planning permission for what is for round here a massive development (100+ homes) and the permission was reluctantly granted with a condition that 40% of them be affordable (there's no shortage of non-affordable stuff here, so that got a lot of local folk onside, despite concerns over flooding, school places etc etc).

The developers got their permission and then went to appeal that they should build NO affordable homes. And it looks like they'll win.

This is shit planning policy taking advantage of a shit council who've taken years to not produce a local plan. But the end result is more 3/4 bed new builds at £300k+ that aren't really needed other than by people who want to choose their own bathroom tiles. Meanwhile the people struggling to find housing they can afford are renting flats above shops for £500 a month.
Postmanpat on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to andy:

Brown envelopes?
Murderous_Crow - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to andy:

This goes to the heart of it - a fundamental problem of under-investment in social housing, and over-protection for the interests of the wealthy. It's a UK-wide issue, and relates very much to the imbalance between London (where many 'ordinary' people live through no fault of their own) and the rest of the nation. In the capital, people are increasingly being priced out of the area, often by foreign money. In the rest of the UK, there is fierce opposition to inclusive and affordable building schemes.

I don't think carte blanche 'occupation' of empty homes is OK, and on this point I feel Mr Corbyn is wrong. But his anger over the injustice of unoccupied homes is reasonable, and the points he made for compulsory purchase are more realistic. "It cannot be acceptable that in London you have luxury buildings and luxury flats kept as land banking for the future while the homeless and the poor look for somewhere to live."
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Coel Hellier - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Hephaestus:

> Nearly 1400 properties in Kensington lie as empty investments for the rich ...

Can someone point me at properly substantiated figures for the fraction of London property that is left empty? Given the rents in London, I'd be a bit surprised that any investor didn't want the rent as well as the capital gain, but maybe it is so.

The Guardian claim 22,000 left empty, out of a total of 3.4 million, which gives a 99.4% occupancy rate.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/21/tens-thousands-london-homes-deemed-long-term-vacant

The Telegraph says: "... a report commissioned by the Mayor of London found that almost no homes in London owned by overseas buyers are being left empty".

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/house-prices/almost-no-evidence-london-homes-owned-foreign-buyer...
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Postmanpat on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:


Don't let a few minor facts get in the way of the revolution.
Post edited at 19:29
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La benya - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

>My guess is the same thing will happen in Kensington as happened in New Orleans after Katrina, they'll use the disaster as an opportunity for gentrification. It has to be very tempting to wait until things calm down, declare all that social housing unsafe, move everybody out, demolish it and replace it with expensive flats.

Have you been to New Orleans in the last 10 years since? Whole neighbourhoods lay in the same state they were left in after the 'cane. Families who moved away have just walked away from their land and homes. No idea what gentrification you're talking about.

It's very different to one block in west London mind.
Hephaestus - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

The press is quoting Government figures
"In April, the royal borough had 1,399 empty homes worth £664m – while thousands of families languish on the council’s housing waiting list."

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Hephaestus - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

F*ck you - I have the stats.

1399 empty properties valued at £650 million.
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Postmanpat on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Hephaestus:
> F*ck you - I have the stats.

> 1399 empty properties valued at £650 million.

Doesnt justify Corbyn's comments. . How do u reconcile them with Coel's for London as a whole?

Actually its about a 98% occupancy rate so, not an astronomical issue. In reality the idea that empy peopertis in Cadogan Square are the direct cause of a housing shortage in North Kensington is a bit of a stretch,
Post edited at 19:54
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Matt Vigg - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

Yeah I think it is outrageous, was thinking this today after reading what McDonnell said, it's total political opportunism. These people should be getting immediate support from the state and some quick answers about why this happened but I think it's very shoddy for labour to be using this to push what I think is a pretty extreme idea.

I say this as someone from Cornwall where *second home* ownership is perhaps even a bigger issue than in London (actually I'm convinced it is if Coel's 94% figure is correct). This has killed off villages and is having a good go of killing off entire towns in Cornwall, I can't see any way to solve this other than with some form of regulation but I'd never advocate just taking houses off people.
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Hephaestus - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:
I don't need to mate, because I was talking about Kensington.
Anyway, I'm out of here. Talking to you will only drive me nuts.
See ya
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neilh - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Hephaestus:
Is that empty and beinfmg refurbished? Stats like this are a bit meaningless intil you dig down.
MG - on 18 Jun 2017
Postmanpat on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Hephaestus:
> I don't need to mate, because I was talking about Kensington.

>
Dont worry, ive done it for you. Sorry i dont toe the Corbyn line. Bye
Post edited at 20:08
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Jim C - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to gethin_allen:

> The only way it could happen would be by compulsory purchase order and for this the owners would have to be suitably compensated. This would be very very expensive so is unlikely to happen.

Who is going to evict a family if the mob breaks in and they squat in one of the many empty 'property investments' ?
Tyler - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

> Clearly, those affected need housing and support but we aren't talking about huge numbers. With some effort this mus be possible within a few days (or hours) and within a few miles of their Grenfall Tower.
It must be, so why hasn't this happened?

If the council/govt won't pull its finger out people will propose alternatives, if the council/govt don't like it then they should propose their own. If there are people still unaccomodated now, several days later, I have no moral objection to people occupying unused property (not merely temporarily vacant) for a period. I dare say the powers that be would soon act (leaving even more people questioning who they really represent)
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Coel Hellier - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Hephaestus:

> The press is quoting Government figures
> "In April, the royal borough had 1,399 empty homes worth £664m – while thousands of families languish on the council’s housing waiting list."

What matters is the percentage of homes that are empty and the length of time they are being left empty.

At any one time there will inevitably be some fraction that is empty for renovation, or between tenants, or empty while being sold. Is it really the case that properties are being deliberately left empty in addition to those times?
MG - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Tyler:

> It must be, so why hasn't this happened?

It has, hasn't it? Has anyone been left without (offers of) accommodation? But regardless, if not, the sensible response would be to highlight this and press for a solution, not use people's plight as an excuse to push a radical socialist political project.

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Tyler - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to gethin_allen:

> Just think what would happen to the UK economy if investors felt the state could walk in and take peoples assets? Anyone in the country with money would move away with it and anyone outside the country would think twice and go elsewhere, and those with power and money would fiddle the system as they do with tax so only those with small investments would get boned.

Quite, but is this the sort of investment we want to encourage? This doesn't create jobs, it drives up the cost of housing int the city (the business model is predicated on it doing so) which has a knock effect on the rest of the country.

NB: my comments are based on the idea we are talking about houses which are/were never intended to be occupied during the ownership of the current owners.

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Tyler - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:
> It has, hasn't it? Has anyone been left without (offers of) accommodation? But regardless, if not, the sensible response would be to highlight this and press for a solution, not use people's plight as an excuse to push a radical socialist political project.

I'm assuming not otherwise this would not be an issue (the acid test is whether or not there have been articles in the DM about immigrants turning down offers of houses decent hard working families could only dream of). If we are talking about something unrelated to housing the Grenfell victims then that's a different kettle of fish.
Post edited at 20:29
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Tyler - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> Mean if my house burnt down tonight and I barley escaped with my life, I've loose all my stuff, and be homeless, I'd have to stay with friends or book a hotel or something and get on the phone to the insurance. It could easily be a year or more before the house is rebuilt and ready to move into. No one is going to go fundraising for me, or giving me £40k and all the rest of it. What is the real difference? Yes it is tragic because of the scale of it but really why are these people so special, why is their turmoil any more important than anyone else who's had family die in a fire and barley escaped themselves?

If you live in a house then your buildings insurance would cover the cost of rehousing, if you live in a flat you won't have buildings insurance policy, the landlord will.
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Postmanpat on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier:

The 1399 (2%) number is i think for prperties declared empty for 6 months or more but there doesnt seem to be a legal requirement to declare your property empty. This number may be for foreign owned ones?
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bouldery bits - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:
Maybe they could all live in some shacks or something? I'm sure they could find a couple of roomy biffa bins or a vandalised phone box.
Post edited at 20:34
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Postmanpat on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to bouldery bits:

> Maybe they could all live in some shacks or something? I'm sure they could find a couple of roomy biffa bins or a vandalised phone box.

Its a serious issue. Don't trivialise it by tyrying to score feeble points
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gethin_allen on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to andy:

Also, the "affordable homes" that are currently being designed and built are crap, affordable shouldn't be a byword for shoebox with postage stamp windows.
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bouldery bits - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Its a serious issue. Don't trivialise it by tyrying to score feeble points

I'm not sure making sure a load of dispossessed people have somewhere to live is trivialising anything, or a feeble point.

However, I hope if you're made homeless you are shown the same level of compassion.

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MG - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> I don't agree with the proposal but I find it amazing that most people react with such disgust to the idea of the state seizing property but are quite fine with the state seizing a proportion of their income.

Come on, tax is a controlled, democratic contribution to running society that people can pay using whatever means they choose (including potentially selling property). The proposal here is arbitrary requisition of property that happens to be local to disaster. Rather different.

MG - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to bouldery bits:

> I'm not sure making sure a load of dispossessed people have somewhere to live is trivialising anything, or a feeble point.

That's not what is going on here, or what the thread is about.
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Postmanpat on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to bouldery bits:

You know what you were doing, claiming a monopoly on virtue for your position. It's feeble and insulting.

If you have something constructive to say them stick with that.
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gethin_allen on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Tyler:

> Quite, but is this the sort of investment we want to encourage?
I would agree that this isn't what I would call an ethical investment, my point was more about the image that seizing property would give to businesses and investors in general. If they can take your house then who's stopping the gov from having your business assets off you?

Sorting out the housing market would do enough to discourage people buying as a simple investment, as it stands, with virtually zero interest rates and the prices in london rising rapidly who wouldn't be keen to stash their cash as a posh flat in Kensington, and by keeping it empty they avoid the hassle of renting and the place can be sold on "as new".

Personally I can't understand why anyone would want to live in London, and I really think all gov departments should slowly be decentralised to save money and move well paid jobs around the country. It would be a good laugh to move parliament to birmingham while the current building is being refurbished.

bouldery bits - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

> You know what you were doing, claiming a monopoly on virtue for your position. It's feeble and insulting.

Nope.
Just some classic UKC trolling.

The fact I'm right is a nice bonus!

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Tyler - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to gethin_allen:

I think we're in agreement but I don't think anyone is talking of seizing them permanently just using them to fix an issue. That there is an issue to fix (i.e. not the original fire but people still homeless, if that is the case) is entirely of the govts own making and the longer they dither the more people will think this sort of thing acceptable.
Postmanpat on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to bouldery bits:
Right about what you didn't say? Righteeho.
Im not sure trolling is appropriate.
Post edited at 21:14
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bouldery bits - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:


> Im not sure trolling is appropriate.

I'm not sure you're appropriate.
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Lusk - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to bouldery bits:

There's a tidy bit of real estate going there when they demolish it.
Me, cynical?
Fraser on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

> Does this proposal strike anyone else as outrageous?

I hadn't seen or heard of this suggestion till reading your post's headline. It strikes me as one of the most bonkers ideas anyone could come up with. What planet is this guy on?
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tom_in_edinburgh - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:
> Come on, tax is a controlled, democratic contribution to running society that people can pay using whatever means they choose (including potentially selling property). The proposal here is arbitrary requisition of property that happens to be local to disaster. Rather different.

That's one way of looking at it. Another way of looking at it is that income tax and consumption tax are seizing property too. My employer is willing to pay me say £40K or my customer is willing to pay me £5K but the state seizes some of that revenue. Psychologically income tax might not feel so bad because it gets taken before I see it but the effect is the same.

You could even argue that taking over an empty house for a few months doesn't actually cost the owner anything if it is returned in the same condition and the owner was not going to use it but taking income tax has an actual cost.

Having said that I don't think sequestering properties as suggested by Jeremy Corbyn is a sensible approach.
Post edited at 00:33
tom_in_edinburgh - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to La benya:
I've not been to New Orleans for a while.

My understanding is that after Katrina a lot of the original population moved out after the storm and have never returned and there's not much interest in improving the flood defences for 'problem' areas so the people can come back. It's not building on the land but the overall effect on the city is gentrification - a different ratio of poor to rich people.

I don't think it is just one block in west London, one block caught fire but there will be lots of other blocks with similar issues.
Post edited at 01:29
Dave Perry - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

The proposal's main purpose was not action but to create a nice sound bite.
1
Fraser on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Who checks the property is safe, insured, suitable, certified that the gas and electric appliances are safe? Who pays the council tax, who deals with all the paperwork, how much compensation does the owner get, loss of rent which the owner *may* have imminently wanted to accrue? So many ill- or unconsidered factors here, it's a question of where to begin. Bonkers, as I said.
The New NickB - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Brown envelopes?

Unlikely, viability assessment. The developer says "if we have to build all these affordable houses, we won't make enough money" and the government* say, quite right.

*I don't know the case that Andy refers to, but he mentions it going to appeal, which means a planning inspector, who is a government civil servant, rather than the local authority.

The 2012 National Planning Policy Framework majorly eroded local government ability to refuse major development, or as in this case, secure broader community benefit.
MonkeyPuzzle - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to The New NickB:

We're experiencing that here in Easton, East Bristol. Disused victorian chocolate factory in a working class but rapidly gentrifying neighbourhood and the developer has pleaded non-viability due to lack of profit if they make the required 40% affordable homes. Problem is they're quoting house prices from two and a half years ago in an area with some of the fastest rising prices in the country. Local people mobilised, local council rejected permission based on the lack of affordable housing so the developers have appealed to central government. They'll probably win too, so the gentrification will continue, locals' rents will go up and they'll have to move out. It's all rather depressing.
Jim C - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to The New NickB:

> Unlikely, viability assessment. The developer says "if we have to build all these affordable houses, we won't make enough money" and the government* say, quite right.

I was talking to a developer recently at a local council planning meeting , they were being 'forced' by the council to have a mix of houses on a new site, and the issue for them seemed to be that the smarter more expensive houses were then harder to sell, if they were in with 'affordable' houses built close by, than if it was a new development with no affordable homes.
( Although he was carefull not say that directly, it was clear to me what he was getting at. )
winhill - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Or, as Corbyn suggested, simply by "occupying" them.

It's incredible stuff from man who claims he can still form the government, isn't it?

Still saying Occupy It and compulsory purchase on Sunday even aftera night's sleep.

Straight away people were asking how compulsory purchase would help when the process usually takes 2 years but he couldn't change his tune.

But it's Corbyn so the problem still remains one of leadership, a febrile atmosphere over the weekend, a crowd attacking someone and Corbyn is throwing petrol on the fire instead of appealing for cool heads. Sadiq Khan little better.
2
jkarran - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Brown envelopes?

Bog standard planning games in modern Britain. I attended a public consultation to support a social housing project proposed for the end of my road to the chagrin of several neighbours protesting outside. Now six months down the line and with the vital access land aquired from the council to open up the site it suddenly seems the developer can't afford to put social housing on the site without doubling the density or switching to about 80% 'premium' development. Standard.
jk
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andy - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to The New NickB:

> Unlikely, viability assessment. The developer says "if we have to build all these affordable houses, we won't make enough money" and the government* say, quite right.

> *I don't know the case that Andy refers to, but he mentions it going to appeal, which means a planning inspector, who is a government civil servant, rather than the local authority.

> The 2012 National Planning Policy Framework majorly eroded local government ability to refuse major development, or as in this case, secure broader community benefit.

Yep, that's exactly it. Council acted on behalf of their residents' wishes/needs and the developer claimed they won't be able to make enough dosh. National planning policy, and the absence of a local plan (thanks to Craven DC being a bunch of prevaricating spanners) means the inspector will have to find in favour of the poor, downtrodden developer.
Lord_ash2000 - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim C:

The thing that gets me with all this affordable Vs presumably unaffordable homes is that someone is buying them. If they were truly unaffordable then builders wouldn't build them as they would struggle to sell them at the price they want. What happens to all the houses the buyers used to live in? Are they also unaffordable, yet they have sold them to someone to move into their new unaffordable home?

Mean you can't have a situation where most of the houses are unaffordable as you'd see streets of lovely new 4 bed houses left empty and going to ruin because almost no one could afford to own them.

What seems to be happening is most people are getting wealthier and moving up the housing ladder and a small number of people have been left behind for now. But I think if you keep building more and more houses and people keep buying them then in time the houses at the bottom end of the market will become affordable because as everyone is moving up the ladder the bottom rung is eventually left free. What we're seeing now is just a bit of lag.
5
Rigid Raider - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

If you think London has an empty property problem, take a look at Paris. The Haussmann boulevards are lined with empty buildings because French inheritance laws make it difficult to sell old places and in any case nobody wants to live in a collapsing 18th century pile with 18th century plumbing, drain smells, leaks, drafts, cold, rot, damp, neighbour noise and no parking.
krikoman - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> Mean if my house burnt down tonight and I barley escaped with my life, I've loose all my stuff, and be homeless, I'd have to stay with friends or book a hotel or something and get on the phone to the insurance

And what do you book a hotel room with, when you've "loose" all your stuff. Your bank card and wallet and all your identification have just turned to smoke and ash. So how do you do that?
2
Coel Hellier - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> ... and a small number of people have been left behind for now.

Or perhaps "quite a large group of people"?

> in time the houses at the bottom end of the market will become affordable because as everyone is moving up the ladder the bottom rung is eventually left free.

Except that the overall demand for housing is rising (people tending to live alone or in smaller families; immigration; population growth), thus there is no likelihood of the cheap end actually getting cheap.
1
Lord_ash2000 - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Coel Hellier


> Except that the overall demand for housing is rising (people tending to live alone or in smaller families; immigration; population growth), thus there is no likelihood of the cheap end actually getting cheap.


Well population growth is always going to be a problem unfortunately but we do seem to want to keep importing quarter of a million people a year into the UK, housing shortage is one of the many problems you face when you do that.
4
neilh - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:
House contents insurance adequately cover this risk, its one of the reasons for buying it.

Standard these days.

And usually with these flats schemes there is a cheap flats insurnace contenets policy offered to tenants. That will cover it as well.

Not difficult. Its why you have insurance.

There is an insurance industry out there which protects you agianst all these risks and alos has the means to sort you out in all these areas.
Post edited at 10:41
1
neilh - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

In a perverse way gentrification is not such a bad thing, it shows that people are getting wealthier.

The issue is of course overseas pepple buying Uk properies and then not using them.

Canada- Vancouver has an even worse problem with overseas buyers- Chinese. They have tried to address it, with I think a huge property tax. It is still too early to say whether it has sorted the issue out.
2
jkarran - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> The thing that gets me with all this affordable Vs presumably unaffordable homes is that someone is buying them. If they were truly unaffordable then builders wouldn't build them as they would struggle to sell them at the price they want. What happens to all the houses the buyers used to live in? Are they also unaffordable, yet they have sold them to someone to move into their new unaffordable home?
> What seems to be happening is most people are getting wealthier and moving up the housing ladder and a small number of people have been left behind for now. But I think if you keep building more and more houses and people keep buying them then in time the houses at the bottom end of the market will become affordable because as everyone is moving up the ladder the bottom rung is eventually left free. What we're seeing now is just a bit of lag.

People buy them with help from comparatively wealthy family and with crippling mortgages that reduce their ability to engage in other economic activity. Bad for equality, bad for anyone not on that landbank gravytrain.

There's also the issue of extortionate 'hidden' charges being levied on leasehold property with exponential rent increases written into contracts. These homes being built today will not be re-sold as affordable in the future, they'll be an albatross around the necks of those that bought them or a toxic political scandal and an expensive transfer of public 'bail-out' money to the offshore investment funds that buy up the leases.

Smaller cheaper houses don't just become available when people move on to bigger family homes. People renovate, convert lofts, add value and leave behind them an 'affordable first home' that is no longer affordable to first time buyers in the same situation. The process is gradual but inexorable if that stock is not replaced.

All in all it's not working very well and we've done better at providing proper housing in the past with different development models. The deregulated free market is not serving the nation's needs when it comes to housing. It isn't meant to.
jk
wintertree - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to jkarran:

> The deregulated free market is not serving the nation's needs when it comes to housing. It isn't meant to.

It can't as long as the population grows and the supply of appropriately zoned land is not free market. The rental/housing situation is the one thing that brings out my closet socialist. No new rental accommodation should get planning permission unless it's under a suitably open and regulated housing association and existing rentals should be hit with a new tax that rises from 0% of income on the first house rented to 100% on the nth house, where n is somewhere around 10. This gives people the freedom to rent their house to help them manage a changing situation but stops profit driven hoarding. The only way out of this tax is to rent via an open and regulated housing association or similar.

Housing land should not be permitted to be used as an investment because supply is severely constrained and because it is a basic necessity to realising some of the most basic human rights of the people.

If we thoroughly broke the mindset of housing land having over inflated value people might not argue so vociferously against freeing up more land for housing as it would no longer risk the value of their investments. The problem is it's gone on to long and too many people will loose too much. Though. Ramp the new tax up incrementally over 10 years and give them time to suck it up. Investment is a risky business and landlords aren't at the top of my pity list when it goes south.
Post edited at 11:32
jkarran - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> In a perverse way gentrification is not such a bad thing, it shows that people are getting wealthier.

Or that the rich and poor are becoming ever more segregated, ghettoised. Either condition can result in 'gentrification'.

> The issue is of course overseas pepple buying Uk properies and then not using them.

Outside of swanky London riverside towers I'm not convinced this popular bogie man is really that big of a threat.
jk
Toerag - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> The thing that gets me with all this affordable Vs presumably unaffordable homes is that someone is buying them. If they were truly unaffordable then builders wouldn't build them as they would struggle to sell them at the price they want. What happens to all the houses the buyers used to live in? Are they also unaffordable, yet they have sold them to someone to move into their new unaffordable home?

> Mean you can't have a situation where most of the houses are unaffordable as you'd see streets of lovely new 4 bed houses left empty and going to ruin because almost no one could afford to own them.

It's because investors and wealthy people are buying them, we have exactly that situation here - average house price reached 14.6 times average salary a couple of years ago (£460k for 3 bed semi with parking for 2 cars and small garden). The locals in need of affordable housing are stuck in a rental trap - they can't afford to save for a mortgage deposit thus have to rent. Wealthy people and investors can afford to buy with a low mortgage rate and thus buy them and rent them out to the poor who can't afford to buy them. The poor have no choice but to rent.
Luckily the recession has spooked investors and prices have fallen a bit, but houses are still overpriced. Developers have put schemes on hold as a consequence.
David Riley - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to wintertree:

> existing rentals should be hit with a new tax

If you tax rental income then rents will go up by the same amount.
Prevent that and landlords will invest elsewhere and available rented property will diminish.
Landlords are providing a service people want. They are not increasing house prices if the homes are occupied.
2
krikoman - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> House contents insurance adequately cover this risk, its one of the reasons for buying it.

> Standard these days.

> And usually with these flats schemes there is a cheap flats insurnace contenets policy offered to tenants. That will cover it as well.

> Not difficult. Its why you have insurance.

> There is an insurance industry out there which protects you agianst all these risks and alos has the means to sort you out in all these areas.

And if your insurance certificate was in the fire too. Or god forbid you couldn't afford insurance?
1
MG - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> And if your insurance certificate was in the fire too.

That doesn't cancel the insurance!! Just ring them up.

> Or god forbid you couldn't afford insurance?

Then you will be taken care of by the state/council etc. Apparently over £5k is coming your way in this instance - far more generous than if it had been a one-off house fire.

I would said those who died, and their friends and families, are the ones who have got the most to be upset about here, not those who survived, are being re-housed and receiving a cash payout.

4
The New NickB - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to jkarran:

London appears particularly bad, but it is happening elsewhere. The South Manchester property market seems particularly aggressive at the moment and a few years ago my sister was looking at buying a flat in the Green Quarter in Manchester, whilst the flats there are reasonably affordable, she made appointments to view dozens, with probably 70% of those appointments cancelled by the agent because the flats had been sold unseen to an investor.
Fraser on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Toerag:

> ... here - average house price reached 14.6 times average salary a couple of years ago (£460k for 3 bed semi with parking for 2 cars and small garden).

Where is "here", because that's not the average UK house cost, even in 2017? The UK-wide average in March this year was £215,847. The average UK salary now is c.£27k, so that's 'only' 8 times, not 14.6. it's still a helluva lot, I grant you that!

elsewhere on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to David Riley:

> If you tax rental income then rents will go up by the same amount.

Markets respond to changes. They don't operate independently of changing costs.

> Prevent that and landlords will invest elsewhere
Thus achieving the aim of the tax.

> and available rented property will diminish.
Releasing properties for buyers at improved affordability, an example of the market responding to changes.

> Landlords are providing a service people want.
True

>They are not increasing house prices if the homes are occupied.
False.

If more/less money goes into an area of investment you would expect a market to reflect that. That's how supply & demand works. Another example of the market responding to changes.
neilh - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to jkarran:

Gentrification is a broad subject and a very emotional one- (why for example were an Italian couple who were architects - just moved into Grenfel- there in the first place- should they have had a flat in what was social housing??)

London is worse, but there are plenty of other areas where people cannot afford to stay rooted to their community in which they were brough up in. Whether that justifies govt support or restructuring the housing market is debatable.

And there are overseas investment funds buying up rental properies etc in place like Liverpool, Manchester etc.

And we all know that people in the Lakes etc are hit by the same issue.

For years we have not built enough houses in the UK. there again Green belt is untouchable and sacrosant .Its a pig's ear and nobody wants to touch the issue, too many people will be unhappy with the result.

It will take a huge political consensus to tackle it.
wintertree - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to David Riley:

Elsewhere covered most of what I would have said in reply to your message, but...

> If you tax rental income then rents will go up by the same amount

Hence the tax rising to 100% of the income, not profit, by the nth house.

The aim isn't to discourage landlording as a service, but to discourage private rental by individuals or businesses owning multiple (many) rental houses. Small scale private rental and regulated housing associations continue on. There's scope for a well regulated business model for higher end rental as well.

Unrelated to this proposal but if I was king of Britain I'd also make planning more permissive - or more robust to challenge especially by land investors - for well run social housing schemes.
Post edited at 12:38
jkarran - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to The New NickB:

> ...a few years ago my sister was looking at buying a flat in the Green Quarter in Manchester, whilst the flats there are reasonably affordable, she made appointments to view dozens, with probably 70% of those appointments cancelled by the agent because the flats had been sold unseen to an investor.

Sold to an investor but probably not to stand empty which is the usual complaint.
jk
David Riley - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to elsewhere:

>They are not increasing house prices if the homes are occupied. False

How does that work then ?

One house, one family in occupation.
If the family buys the house instead of renting it there is no change in the supply and demand that determines house prices.

Unless people renting are not in a position to buy or do not want to. It would then seem as if demand had fallen so reducing prices. If a large proportion of landlords sold, the result would be lots of empty properties up for sale after the limited number of occupier buyers had gone.
But there would be a crisis lack of rentals. Is that what you want ?


1
jkarran - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to David Riley:

> If the family buys the house instead of renting it there is no change in the supply and demand that determines house prices.

One could argue that if a family buys a house they will likely in the next 10 years or so sell it on to move for schools, space etc, the amount of property for sale remains steady. An investor doesn't plan to sell it on so the property, at least for the investor's lifetime leaves the market. Obviously not every owner occupied hose is turned over rapidly nor every investment clung onto for decades but on average I suspect there is a significant difference in the 'years owned' for each type of buyer. How much impact that has I don't know but it is possible to imagine a mechanism by which buy to let investors pump prices in a market that cannot/does not respond properly to changes in supply and demand.
jk
Bob Kemp - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:
> Can you think of any possible downsides to allowing people to "occupy" properties or allowing assets to be sequestered at the whim of the government?

Of course, but British governments over the years clearly haven't been able to:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Requisitioned-British-Country-House-Second/dp/1781310955
http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/land-requisitioned-war/#2...

And from the Civil Contingencies Act, 2004 - see 3b below:
"(3) Emergency regulations may make provision of any kind that could be made by Act of Parliament or by the exercise of the Royal Prerogative; in particular, regulations may—
(a) confer a function on a Minister of the Crown, on the Scottish Ministers, on the National Assembly for Wales, on a Northern Ireland department, on a coordinator appointed under section 24 or on any other specified person (and a function conferred may, in particular, be—
(i) a power, or duty, to exercise a discretion;
(ii) a power to give directions or orders, whether written or oral);
(b) provide for or enable the requisition or confiscation of property (with or without compensation);"

It seems that it's not a problem if there is sufficient reason to - war, terrorist emergency etc.. So the question becomes, is there sufficient reason to in this particular case? Is it enough of an emergency to warrant requisition?
elsewhere on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to David Riley:
> >They are not increasing house prices if the homes are occupied. False

> How does that work then ?

If a million people invest £100,000 each in buy to let, house prices are boosted.

If the million people make different decisions and put their investments in shares the FTSE is boosted.

If the million people make different decisions and put their investments in golf memorabilia then the price of golf memorabilia is boosted.

The supply and demand for investments changes prices.

> One house, one family in occupation.

> If the family buys the house instead of renting it there is no change in the supply and demand that determines house prices.

Prices don't just reflect supply and demand for accommodation, they reflect supply and demand for investments too.

It would be a strange market if investment or disinvestment does not change prices in the market.

> Unless people renting are not in a position to buy or do not want to. It would then seem as if demand had fallen so reducing prices. If a large proportion of landlords sold, the result would be lots of empty properties up for sale after the limited number of occupier buyers had gone.

Prices to rent and to prices to buy would be expected to fall until they get a tenant or buyer.

> But there would be a crisis lack of rentals. Is that what you want ?

Rather than expecting properties to be left empty I'd expect them to be sold or rented at reduced prices if the investment became less attractive.
Post edited at 13:33
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krikoman - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to elsewhere:

> Prices don't just reflect supply and demand for accommodation, they reflect supply and demand for investments too.

> It would be a strange market if investment or disinvestment does not change prices in the market.

Which is why it's vitally important the councils hold housing stock for rental, otherwise they are at the whim of the market and have no influence on rental pricing. If the council owned a significant proportion of the housing it's paying for then rents would be much cheaper, house prices would fall accordingly and we'd ALL have a more sensible housing market.

As to the Seizing of empty properties, I don't particularly like the idea myself, except for maybe long term empty houses where nothing is being done to them, and only as a temporay measure.

This is very different from the examples give above for NOT doing it.

Houses aren't "used" up by living in them, it's not like lending someone my car where they'll put more miles on it and wear the engine and tyres out. You can move in and out without affecting their value, so why not,for a while, use empty buildings. Until there is alternatives available?
1
David Riley - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to elsewhere:

> If the million people make different decisions and put their investments in golf memorabilia then the price of golf memorabilia is boosted.

Until people realize 'the Emperor has no clothes' then they crash again.
The real supply and demand is people wanting somewhere to live. So your analysis is wrong.
1
Jim C - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

We had expensive new houses built at the bottom of our road in 2008 many lay empty for years, and people who had bought then wanted to move were stuck there for years with negative equity of £50-£100 K . The developer tried to rent some of them with mixed success.

Only this year have the original properties now mostly sold, and the developer has started on the stage 2 that was supposed to start in 2010-11.
Lord_ash2000 - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim C:

Because they were built just as the finical crash took hold. If the situation remained like that not many more developers are going to risk building high value homes which they might struggle to sell.
Jim C - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

I suppose that the government could put an unoccupied tax on homes empty long term, set at a high enough rate so that it would force owners to either, rent it out or sell privately, or better sell to the council.
elsewhere on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to David Riley:
> Until people realize 'the Emperor has no clothes' then they crash again.
We agree on that. An example of disinvestment changing prices in the market, in this case reducing costs for those who wish to occupy the property.

> The real supply and demand is people wanting somewhere to live. So your analysis is wrong.

As I said earlier, it would be a strange market if investment or disinvestment does not change prices in the market.
Post edited at 14:05
DancingOnRock - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:
But the council/government allow high rental prices to continue by paying landlords 'market value'. It's a catch-22. If they said they were only going to pay market value -20% then all of a sudden all these lucrative buy-to-lets, where councils guarantee tenents, would fall apart.
Post edited at 14:10
Jim C - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

> Because they were built just as the finical crash took hold. If the situation remained like that not many more developers are going to risk building high value homes which they might struggle to sell.

My own daughter got caught out, she could not sell her home , and ended up selling her home to the builder that she bought her new house from for £10K less than she wanted, the builder , we found out later from the neighbour sold it for £10K less than that again!

I have seen my own home vary in price over the 30 years I have lived in it, and quite drastically, but as I did not need to move, I have seen it rise again since the crash.

In theory if I fancy a move , I should sell before the next crash. But then I need to pay top whack for any replacement, so unless I downsize or go to a cheaper area, I will not see much benefit.
Postmanpat on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Bob Kemp:

This is a reductio ad absurdum. The Uk became a centrally planned authoritarian State in Ww2 and this was widely accepted as a necessity in such a unique period. It would it have had many of the effects such policies would have in peacetime.

It implies no precedent for the overuling or changing of laws in peacetime.
MG - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Bob Kemp:

> So the question becomes, is there sufficient reason to in this particular case? Is it enough of an emergency to warrant requisition?

Existential threat to the entire.country vs. a few families needing short term accommodation. I'm going with "no".

cb294 - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

No, the proposal makes absolute sense. Not as an actual approach to rehouse the fire victims, but as a way to highlight was has gone wrong with the housing market in the UK.

From my outside perspective, it appears that in the UK (house) ownership is associated only with rights, but not with duties. In a way landlords are having their cake and eating it. This is what makes renting in he UK such a shit alternative (compared to, say, Sweden, Switzerland, or Germany).

The same imbalance between rights and duties also underlies the English issues with right to roam (land rather than property ownership).

CB
1
Bob Kemp - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

This is a reductio ad absurdum.
No it isn't. It's pointing out that legal frameworks have existed for a long time that the British government has used when necessary to allow requisitions. Used in the '14-'18 war too, so not just a matter of a WWII authoritarian state. And as referenced in my post, there's still a peacetime power to requisition property.
1
Bob Kemp - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:
"Existential threat to the entire.country vs. a few families needing short term accommodation. I'm going with "no"."
That's fair enough. I'm sure there are other ways to solve this particular emergency. BTW - do you think you should be trivialising this as 'a few families'?
Post edited at 14:50
MG - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Bob Kemp:

It's not trivialising it for them individually, of course. But in a national scale it is a trivial problem. Fire safety of other tower blocks isn't, however.
Bob Kemp - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

Fair enough...
krikoman - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

> It's not trivialising it for them individually, of course. But in a national scale it is a trivial problem. Fire safety of other tower blocks isn't, however.

How many, is NOT trivial then? 10% of the population? 25%?

You seem to be able to change your mind easily enough when it's "terrorism".
2
Postmanpat on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Bob Kemp:
> No it isn't. It's pointing out that legal frameworks have existed for a long time that the British government has used when necessary to allow requisitions. Used in the '14-'18 war too, so not just a matter of a WWII authoritarian state. And as referenced in my post, there's still a peacetime power to requisition property.
>
There is no indication that these frameworks were designed for anything like this case:

"The definition (of emergency) includes war or attack by a foreign power, which were defined as emergency under previous legislation, as well as terrorism which poses a threat of serious damage to the security of the United Kingdom and events which threaten serious damage to human welfare in a place in the United Kingdom or to the environment of a place in the United Kingdom."
"It allows for the making of temporary special legislation (emergency regulations) to help deal with the most serious of emergencies. The use of emergency powers is a last resort option and planning arrangements at the local level should not assume that emergency powers will be made available. Their use is subject to a robust set of safeguards - they can only be deployed in exceptional circumstances."

If Corbyn interprets these powers as applicable to this case he would be entering very dangerous territory.
Post edited at 17:19
1
krikoman - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> But the council/government allow high rental prices to continue by paying landlords 'market value'. It's a catch-22. If they said they were only going to pay market value -20% then all of a sudden all these lucrative buy-to-lets, where councils guarantee tenents, would fall apart.

And where's their power to do this , and still house people? If they have housing stock they achieve this while housing people. The landlords know they have them over a barrel, so how could they possibly say we're only going to pay -20%.

Try that at a garage next time you are filling up! Or if there's a state owned garage next door selling petrol at 20% less go there instead.
2
krikoman - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim C:

> I suppose that the government could put an unoccupied tax on homes empty long term, set at a high enough rate so that it would force owners to either, rent it out or sell privately, or better sell to the council.

They could also stop lending money for buy to let, and let the councils buy housing stock!
2
MG - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> How many, is NOT trivial then? 10% of the population? 25%?

We are talking about finding temporary accommodation for 0.0005%, or so, of the population here! I'd say that's a trivial problem for the state

> You seem to be able to change your mind easily enough when it's "terrorism".
?? That affects about 100% of the population in various ways.

1
Postmanpat on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> They could also stop lending money for buy to let, and let the councils buy housing stock!

Do you not see the potential risk and contradiction, against a background in which successive governments and councils will almost certainly be found largely responsible for the failures that led to this disaster, of increasing their powers?
2
The New NickB - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Do you not see the potential risk and contradiction, against a background in which successive governments and councils will almost certainly be found largely responsible for the failures that led to this disaster, of increasing their powers?

I'll be blunt here and say that even with taking in to account this weeks tragedy, private sector landlords kill a lot more of their tenants than public ones; they would kill a lot more if it wasn't for the work of local authority housing teams using their legal powers to enforce basic standards.
1
Postmanpat on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to The New NickB:

> I'll be blunt here and say that even with taking in to account this weeks tragedy, private sector landlords kill a lot more of their tenants than public ones; they would kill a lot more if it wasn't for the work of local authority housing teams using their legal powers to enforce basic standards.

Yes, i'm not suggesting that regulations and supervision are a bad thing. Both are obviously essential. I suggest just that increasing micromanagement by the State is not necessarily a cure all or even the optimal solution.
1
DancingOnRock - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:
People are buying properties knowing and being guaranteed that the council will pay for them to house tenants at the market rate. There is no risk, there's no open market. The council are inadvertently setting the market price and propping up the market.

Your garage example is interesting, if they raise the price people actually buy less fuel, they reduce their use of the car for leisure and start limiting use to non essential journeys. If people just said to the garage, I've got a bottomless bucket of cash, charge what you want, I'll still buy your petrol, you'll see fuel inflation the same as we've seen rental inflation.
Post edited at 18:00
krikoman - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:
> Do you not see the potential risk and contradiction, against a background in which successive governments and councils will almost certainly be found largely responsible for the failures that led to this disaster, of increasing their powers?

So the only answer is to privatise everything? and then we'll all be safe. what a ridiculous statement. Who is it that brings the building standards into law?
Post edited at 18:03
1
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krikoman - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> People are buying properties knowing and being guaranteed that the council will pay for them to house tenants at the market rate. There is no risk, there's no open market. The council are inadvertently setting the market price and propping up the market.

> You garage example is interesting, if they raise the price people actually buy less fuel, they reduce their use of the car for leisure and start limiting use to non essential journeys. If people just said to the garage, be got a bottomless bucket of cash, charge what you want, I'll still buy your petrol, you'll see fuel inflation the same as we've seen rental inflation.

What about the people who need to travel to get to work (or need housing)? I have no option but to travel, I carry a load of shit with me, so NOT doing it means I don't earn anything.

It's a lot eaisier to influence the pricing, while STILL being able to provide the service, if you are one of the suppliers.
1
DancingOnRock - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:
> They could also stop lending money for buy to let, and let the councils buy housing stock!

That's also a good solution.

The councils are not allowed to borrow against existing stock like any other private individual or company can. Which is one of the issues with Grenfell. A tower block worth maybe £1bn but the council are limited with how much they can spend on it.
Post edited at 18:05
David Riley - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to The New NickB:

Perhaps difficult to compare an average of private sector landlords with public. I doubt the difference in safety is significant. However I suspect the overall cost to the tenant and the taxpayer combined is rather greater for public housing, wouldn't you ?
DancingOnRock - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

You are only one person. Large numbers of people don't and large numbers only use their car for leisure. It's not a good analogy.
Mr Lopez - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> The councils are not allowed to borrow against existing stock like any other private individual or company can. Which is one of the issues with Grenfell. A tower block worth maybe £1bn but the council are limited with how much they can spend on it.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/16/my-council-tax-rebate-from-kensington-and-chelsea-is...

Postmanpat on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:
> So the only answer is to privatise everything? and then we'll all be safe. what a ridiculous statement.
>
So why did tou make it?
>

Who is it that brings the building standards into law?
>
The State, but it would appear that they have not done a great job. (Which, to avoid you creating another strawman, is the only institiion that can or should make such legislation)
Post edited at 18:51
2
DancingOnRock - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Mr Lopez:


As I say. They can't just spend money on anything they fancy.
Ciro - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

Would those who are incensed at the proposal of the government using compulsory purchase powers in order to improve (and reduce the cost of) the social housing service be equally enraged if the proposal was to improve the rail network or provide the facilities for cheaper, green energy bills?
planetmarshall on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

I do think it's interesting that what Corbyn has proposed is considered to be a 'radical socialist proposal' whereas the restriction of civil liberties after a terrorist attack is not considered to be a radical fascist proposal, with the tabloid press positively gushing about the prospect of the military on our streets, and armed police posing with children like a scene from 'Starship Troopers'.

But then perhaps people attach more value to their second homes than they do to their civil liberties.
The New NickB - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

I am pretty sure that local authorities do not pay market rent, maximum housing benefit will change from area to area, but plenty people have to top up their housing benefit to cover the rent.
1
neilh - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:

It is a cr#p idea. It would send nervous shivers down most house owners spines in the uk. After all why stop at just wealthy people. Why not push the boat out and seize anything above £100k as they are all property owning lackeys.
2
The New NickB - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

Has anyone got a link to what he actually said?
1
MG - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Ciro:

Well, I would, of course.
Bob Kemp - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:
I think you're missing my point, which is that if the government wishes to requisition land or property it will find a way. I don't personally think that it should be necessary or desirable. There are other ways to deal with this and similar problems. I rather like the idea of an emergency temporary property tax in the area, as Tony Yates suggests here:

"Relatedly, one could envisage empty-property taxes that rose in the immediate area around a disaster zone like Grenfell Tower, which would either help fund temporary rehousing, or could be discharged in kind by the owners handing over the keys for a while."
(https://longandvariable.wordpress.com/2017/06/16/there-is-a-capitalist-logic-to-requisitioning-empty...

On Corbyn, I think he would be well advised to think things through more carefully rather than coming out with a quick emotional response. That's what leaders need to do. Any requisitioning or compulsory purchase arrangement would take too long. (Imagine the lawyers licking their lips.) And he's just handing ammunition to the right wing media in the longer term.
Post edited at 19:46
neilh - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Bob Kemp:

Or why simply not rely on the tenants house contents insurers to pay and sort it out which is the usual method in property fire claims. It's not difficult.

neilh - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Bob Kemp:

And can somebody please explain to me why the young Italian couple who were architects are entitled to social housing? I am still trying to figure that out. They had just secured a flat on one of the top floors.

Desperately sad.
1
planetmarshall on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> It is a cr#p idea. It would send nervous shivers down most house owners spines in the uk. After all why stop at just wealthy people. Why not push the boat out and seize anything above £100k as they are all property owning lackeys.

I have no idea how such a scheme could be implemented fairly, nor I suspect, does Corbyn. However I do not accept your 'thin end of the wedge' argument - social policies do not have to be all or nothing - you yourself have arbitrarily chosen a cut off of £100k.

And is a 'property owning lackey' not something of an oxymoron?
1
Bob Kemp - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

Well, first, that's kind of impractical in terms of timing isn't it? And is house contents insurance going to cover re-accommodation? Plus I think you're making certain assumptions about what insurance residents in Grenfell Tower would have had. I imagine that the overall insurance on the block will include some element of re-accommodation costs, but how long that would take to get settled is yet another question.
Bob Kemp - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:
> And can somebody please explain to me why the young Italian couple who were architects are entitled to social housing? I am still trying to figure that out. They had just secured a flat on one of the top floors.

> Desperately sad.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. Do you know what their arrangement with the tenant management company was? As I understand it they were architectural assistants. I don't know what that means salary-wise or how much purchasing power they would have in London but it may be that their income was small enough for them to register for social housing. Or they may have been using the share-to-buy scheme - part rent, part purchase. Maybe they just bought it. Some flats in the Tower were private apparently.
Post edited at 20:10
Jim C - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> They could also stop lending money for buy to let, and let the councils buy housing stock!

Lots of things to be done, but perhaps the first thing the police should do is sieze the records of the management company and even perhaps the council to ensure evidence is not destroyed.
krikoman - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> You are only one person. Large numbers of people don't and large numbers only use their car for leisure. It's not a good analogy.

And neither is you suggestion that councils only pay -20%, WTF do they do with people who need housing today?

2
krikoman - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> It is a cr#p idea. It would send nervous shivers down most house owners spines in the uk. After all why stop at just wealthy people. Why not push the boat out and seize anything above £100k as they are all property owning lackeys.

But it isn't about MOST house owners is it. It's about property INVESTORS who are quite happy to have lots of buildings empty while they wait for prices to rise.

I don't see why there has to be this uproar, if there was a family in your street who's house had burnt down and you had a property empty, you just let them stay there, if you had any compassion. why not FFS!
3
mullermn - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> And can somebody please explain to me why the young Italian couple who were architects are entitled to social housing? I am still trying to figure that out. They had just secured a flat on one of the top floors.

> Desperately sad.

One of my good friends is an architect of several years professional experience. She started with good credentials and has worked hard at her job. She gets paid bugger all, and most of her peers are in the same boat.

Architecture is probably the job with the largest gap between what people think you earn and what you actually earn that I've ever heard of. Unless you own your own practice you earn very little, and that's after 7 years of beasting on qualifications that require you to work hours that would be illegal in a paid job if you want a good grade.

It seems entirely plausible to me that a young couple of architects could require social support of some kind.
1
wbo - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to MG: I would be curious/ doubtful that there is enough housing free in Hammersmith for several hundred people in a hurry. And it certainly won't be cheap

Postmanpat on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:


> I don't see why there has to be this uproar, if there was a family in your street who's house had burnt down and you had a property empty, you just let them stay there, if you had any compassion. why not FFS!
>
You don't see a difference between people volunteering the use of their property and it being forcibly seized?
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FactorXXX - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to wbo:

I would be curious/ doubtful that there is enough housing free in Hammersmith for several hundred people in a hurry. And it certainly won't be cheap

As Corbyn has effectively said that they could just occupy such properties, then they would be both cheap and readily available...
Postmanpat on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Bob Kemp:

Ok, all I am saying is that if Corbyn used those laws to seize properties it would be a perversion of those laws. My belief is that Corbyn would be quite willing to pervert these and many other laws ( of course in the name of "justice")
3
summo on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim C:

> Lots of things to be done, but perhaps the first thing the police should do is sieze the records of the management company and even perhaps the council to ensure evidence is not destroyed.

Would be standard practice in many other industries after an accident. Too late now though.
krikoman - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

> You don't see a difference between people volunteering the use of their property and it being forcibly seized?

Maybe they don't even know about the fire

Like I said earlier, a house doesn't lose any value by people living in it, it doesn't get used up, til there's nothing left.

So if it's only temporary, then why not, if they've been empty for ages what difference does it make having someone who desperately needs somewhere, to have a roof over their head.

A lot of people seem to be very worried about property and NOT very worried about people.

It's all very well sitting here telling people what they should do, why not try putting yourself in their f*cking shoes for one minute!
1
summo on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

If a few plsnes are grounded becsuse of fog, london easy absorbs a few 747s of extra people. I fsil to see a problem .
Bob Kemp - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Ok, all I am saying is that if Corbyn used those laws to seize properties it would be a perversion of those laws.

I suspect he was just talking in the heat of the moment. If he was ever in a position to pervert the existing laws I think he'd fail. He's not Donald Trump, and I don't think he'd be as capable of blatantly ignoring the law.
1
MG - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:
> burnt down and you had a property empty, you just let them stay there,

I'd want some pretty solid assurance they wouldn't smash it up. It's very easy to be generous with other people's possessions. If they were insured they wouldn't need it. If they weren't, that in itself would make me doubt their trustworthiness. I'd much rather my taxes paid for accommodation somewhere that is set up for temporary accommodation, such as a hotel.
Post edited at 21:59
6
Postmanpat on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:
> Maybe they don't even know about the fire

>
You've not addressed my question.

Why don't dont you put yourself in the shoes of an official who has to find accommodation for a large number of people in a short period of time but recognises that short term emotional decisions disregarding the law may ultimately create unforeseen problems, not least for the sort of people in social housing.

Peoples' views on this, as you seem unable to comprehend, are not divided about whether they care nad want a solution, but about what is a practical solution to a pressing problem, and what is in the best long term interests of the people of the UK.
Post edited at 21:56
2
DancingOnRock - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

I've done some digging. There are hurdles to overcome letting out your own property. Not least insurance but also some buy-to-let mortgages specifically state that you can't let to people on Housing Benefit.
DancingOnRock - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:

> If a few plsnes are grounded becsuse of fog, london easy absorbs a few 747s of extra people. I fsil to see a problem .

I think you've been listening to mr Corbyn who also wasn't really thinking very straight.

If you go to Heathrow in the fog, the place is full of people with nowhere to go. A bit like Westway Sports centre now.
Also, you can fill a hotel for a night while the fog clears. These people need long term places to stay.

There's a lot of knee jerk reactions going on, be patient and the places will be found. 120-160 flats. They're out there, maybe not ideal and first choice but when you have nowhere else, needs must.
2
krikoman - on 19 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

> You've not addressed my question.

> Why don't dont you put yourself in the shoes of an official who has to find accommodation for a large number of people in a short period of time but recognises that short term emotional decisions disregarding the law may ultimately create unforeseen problems, not least for the sort of people in social housing.

But the council can already make possession orders on buildings, it's not breaking the law. It takes a long time, but it could probably be speeded up. Of course this isn't the best solution, but it's not impossible and if there's damage in the houses then they could be repaired afterwards. It all depends what's available and what can be done, I don't think anyone is suggesting they posses houses forever.
4
Timmd on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:
> I don't think anyone is suggesting they posses houses forever.

Of course they're not. Nobody has said anything about that, not Corbyn etc.
Post edited at 01:12
Jim C - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:



> There's a lot of knee jerk reactions going on, be patient and the places will be found. 120-160 flats. They're out there, maybe not ideal and first choice but when you have nowhere else, needs must.

That is not what the media are saying, they say this area has a chronic housing shortage already. Hotels will be a stop gap, but some may have to move out of the area, for a while at least.
Jim C - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

Our neighbour's have been flooded out twice taking several months to dry out, in each case their own insurance had to cover accommodation, one occasion for over 4 months maybe more.

Part of that time was in a Premier Inn, and later in a flat close to his that was not affected, I understand the insurers let this flat from a private landlord.

I would have thought that contents insurance would be the responsibility of the tenants , however, the repair or demolition and rebuilding insurance would I expect be included in the rents paid for the property.
DancingOnRock - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim C:

As I say be patient. They've found homes locally for 78 families already.

Lots of knee jerk reaction going on.
summo on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

No not Corbyn. Yes people need long term homes, but it gets them off floors out of sports centres on day 1. London hosts big arena events all the time, there is plenty capacity there especially as it isn't quite peak tourist season.

In a hotel, folk will have food, Water, laundry taken care of. That frees up a bit of brain capacity to start fixing things, insurance, go to the bank and get some cash and card replacement etc..
neilh - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to Bob Kemp:

Yes it does is the simple answer.
neilh - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to mullermn:

I understand that. .

To me it represents the paradox of London .It is probably the no 1 global city.

But it does not mean that social housing should be available to all from everywhere .
Postmanpat on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> But the council can already make possession orders on buildings, it's not breaking the law. >

On what grounds and in what circumstances?

And how does this justify Corbyn's suggestion rhat people simply "occupy" them?

mullermn - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> But it does not mean that social housing should be available to all from everywhere .

I think you may be making up your own rules there. I fail to see why two working but poor people shouldn't have access to social services. Presumably they're paying their taxes and making their contribution.
Moondancer - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

I don't know about the couple's circumstances, but I believe not all residents were social housing tenants. It has been reported that some of the flats were private lets (presumably bought by previous tenants through Right to Buy).
Jim Fraser - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

Sorry all you cosseted little 21st century capitalist darlings but governments always take powers to enable them to deal with emergencies. We have been very lucky not to experience famine, earthquake, invasion or all-out war on these islands in the last couple of generations. If we had then maybe more of us would understand this type of approach.

ECHR, Prot 1 Art 1
"No one shall be deprived of his possessions EXCEPT IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST".
4
MG - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

And you think it is in the public interest and proportionate to appropriate property when there are a small number of families needing rehousing, rather than paying for say hotels?

And you don't think this is Corbyn using a disaster and people's misfortune to further his political ideology?
jkarran - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> Or why simply not rely on the tenants house contents insurers to pay and sort it out which is the usual method in property fire claims. It's not difficult.

It's difficult if you're living hand to mouth before you lose everything and even if you are insured (you're probably not because food comes before insurance) it'll be weeks before loss adjusters can get in to *confirm* what little you owned is lost. In the mean time you've lost the food in the cupboards, the £50 you had saved in the sock drawer and the clothes you weren't wearing when you ran half naked from the inferno that killed scores of your friends and neighbours. Apart from that it's not difficult at all.
jk
1
neilh - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to jkarran:
I accept that.

My understanding is that the govt already has schemes for emergency payments like that. .
Post edited at 11:17
neilh - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply
No . I am asking a difficult question.

Where do you draw the line about social housing in an overcrowded global city that cannot meet the demands from uk citizens never mind elsewhere.

And I am pro immigration and voted remain before you leap on me being the opposite.

It is a tough subject
jkarran - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

Well we could continue the central London social-cleansing project unabated, see how well that 'global city' functions without it's young folk, families, and working class...

Or we could face up to the need for and value in diverse communities, the fact that has costs associated for those who do well from them. We could build more social housing, we could regulate the private rental sector, we could act to cool down London's utterly dysfunctional housing market which would likely benefit the rest of the UK and Londoners alike. Will we? Of course not. Why can't the poor commute to their minimum wage serving and cleaning jobs from Manchester, there's a bus.
jk
Post edited at 12:25
summo on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> Where do you draw the line about social housing in an overcrowded global city that cannot meet the demands from uk citizens never mind elsewhere.

The UK government needs to develop the region's more and don't mean hs2. The A1 is a joke the further north you go for example. The focus needs moving away from London. Share the wear and the perks around.

Jim Fraser - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to jkarran:

> Well we could continue the central London social-cleansing project unabated, see how well that 'global city' functions without it's young folk, families, and working class...

The bins will be emptied every six months and you have to wait 6 weeks for someone to fix a broken window and the concierge has been replaced by a voice recognition system that doesn't recognise your accent. Baristas are shipped in by Starbucks for 4 day backs to backs living on the premises and by the 4th day are spilling nearly everything they make. ... ...

neilh - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to jkarran:

Just exploring views.

Its an overcrowing issue not social cleansing.A victim of it's own sucsess.

You mean Megabus.

I was thinking more along the lines of why is social housing not being offered to preferential occupations like teachers etc than to a European couple doing architecture.

And why not relocate?

Yes they are diverse communities continuing to grow, and meanwhile the rest of the UK outside London shakes their head in amazement or disbelief at the continuing disconnect between London and the rest.And in turn we wonder why large swathes voted out.

As I said its a paradox of London being the No 1 global city ( which will probably never change due to language, culture , business and GMT- time zones).

No easy answers.



1
krikoman - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

> On what grounds and in what circumstances?
If they are empty.

> And how does this justify Corbyn's suggestion rhat people simply "occupy" them?

Not saying it does, but it can be done already, and legally.

1
The New NickB - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> I was thinking more along the lines of why is social housing not being offered to preferential occupations like teachers etc than to a European couple doing architecture.

I don't know the tenure of the flat occupied by the Italian couple. I do know three things though, there were privately rented flats in the block, they were unlikely to have received any special treatment with regard to the social housing list and ex-Council housing is likely to make up a lot of the options for private renters looking at the cheaper end of the market.
neilh - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to The New NickB:
Fair point.
Mike Highbury - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to jkarran:
> Well we could continue the central London social-cleansing project unabated, see how well that 'global city' functions without it's young folk, families, and working class...Why can't the poor commute to their minimum wage serving and cleaning jobs from Manchester, there's a bus.

Hey, we're not all like that, our Syrian housekeeper lives in the basement.

The New NickB - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to no one in particular:

There is a quite timely report by the Public Accounts Committee out today, it’s called Housing: State of the nation. I thought it might be informative to set out a few of the key finding. Firstly, we are not building enough houses and we have not been doing for a long time; about 100,000 a year less than we were in the 70s, which coincidentally is the approximate annual shortfall according to their projections.

Tenure is interesting, as you would expect, over the last 35 years, private ownership has increase to around 14,500,000 households, renting has also increased, from around 7,500,000 to 9,000,000. What is interesting is that whilst private renting has increased from 2,000,000 to 5,000,000, Council or Housing Association renting has fallen from 5,500,000 to 4,000,000.

Since 2006, the cost of private renting has risen roughly in line with earnings (16%), except in London where the cost has increased by double the rate of earnings. Another worrying finding is that whilst 14% of Council or Housing Association is below ‘decent’ standard, the figure for the private rented is 33%.
neilh - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to The New NickB:

Does it comment on the number of single people living on their own? Alledgedly a rising trend.
The New NickB - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

Not in the summary, I've not had chance to read the full report. It's something to react to though, it's not something we can necessarily stop, or would want to.
Jim C - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> As I say be patient. They've found homes locally for 78 families already.

> Lots of knee jerk reaction going on.

Trouble is there are people claiming they have been on the housing list for years in that area, and they will wonder where these homes miraculously appeared from.
Jim C - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to jkarran:

> It's difficult if you're living hand to mouth before you lose everything and even if you are insured (you're probably not because food comes before insurance) it'll be weeks before loss adjusters can get in to *confirm* what little you owned is lost. In the mean time you've lost the food in the cupboards, the £50 you had saved in the sock drawer and the clothes you weren't wearing when you ran half naked from the inferno that killed scores of your friends and neighbours. Apart from that it's not difficult at all.

> jk

Except from minutes after the blaze locals were receiving clothes and food and offers of shelter ( more than they could cope with) so initially thanks to (non government ) activities there is no one short of food or clothes .
DancingOnRock - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim C:

> Trouble is there are people claiming they have been on the housing list for years in that area, and they will wonder where these homes miraculously appeared from.

I watched a TV program a while back about how people get assigned homes.

I was very surprised that they were able to turn down perfectly good properties they didn't like for no apparent real reason and pay no penalty whatsoever. There's a lot of property out there that people just 'don't fancy' living in.
1
Jim C - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> ....... There's a lot of property out there that people just 'don't fancy' living in.

Those will be the homes that are being offered to those affected by the fire then.

2
jkarran - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim C:

They're still in a difficult situation! They've lost everything, a hug, a brew and some second hand clothes as well intentioned and no doubt welcome as they were don't even start to put people's lives back together let alone a hollowed out community.
Jk
DancingOnRock - on 20 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim C:

> Those will be the homes that are being offered to those affected by the fire then.

It's still available on All 4. How to get a council house. People are sorted into 4 bands according to need. I'm guessing these people will jump the queue and go to band 1. According to the program in Newham 40 properties a week become available but 60 families a week join the queue. Which is where the 'chronic shortage of housing' comes from. There are lots of houses out there.
3
krikoman - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> As I say be patient. They've found homes locally for 78 families already.

> Lots of knee jerk reaction going on.

Easy for you to say.
1
Postmanpat on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> If they are empty.

>
Genuine question: can you point me to this law?

DancingOnRock - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

Yes. And it's easy for people who have no concept of what is going on on the ground to wail and gnash their teeth.
1
neilh - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:
Some perspective is required. there are 500,000 plus fire incidents a year, 300 leading to fatalities. Granted in scale grenfell is huge. But there will have been a good few properties aound the country destoyed by fire making people homeless since last Wednesday.Some even in London.

In a week or so most will have been sorted for accomodation.
Post edited at 09:29
2
Lord_ash2000 - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

I was thinking this as well, people die all the time in fires, it just happens these ones all lived in the same block.

What I was wondering though is this. There has been a lot of talk of the re homing and being on the housing list etc with council tenants. What happens normally when individual council houses / flat burn down, as they must do from time to time? Does the tenant get automatically re-homed to another council property or do they go to the back of the que again, are they entitled to be moved back to the same area?

I can understand in this Grenfell case it's going to be more difficult as there is a sudden glut of people but in terms of the processes they should be treated like anyone else in the same situation.
3
neilh - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

I assume that everybody in the Uk now gets £5500 cash following fire destroying their home..

I have wondered if the same would have happened outside London away from Parliaments back door.

Does not diminish in any way what has happened.
5
summo on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

Nope they'd await the arrival of their respective insurance assessor. Who would authorise an initial emergency payment, prior to the full claim. Same with those flooded out of their homes.
galpinos on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> Some perspective is required. there are 500,000 plus fire incidents a year, 300 leading to fatalities.

Approx 30,000 a year dwelling fires, as this was and the last three years have had 216, 195 and 229 fatalities (no data for 2016/17 yet).*

The Grenfell fire seems to have taken 80 lives, that counts as massive event (over 35% of the average annual rate in one event!) and as such probably needs dealing with in a non-standard manner. If you add in the current political climate, the fact it's mainly social housing, the fact the local council (in a generally very rich area) prides itself on it's cash surplus and cost cutting measures, the dubious nature of the cladding, gentrification of the area and the fact that these people have seen their homes and many of their friends go up in flames and you can understand why it needs dealing with in a different manner to someone's private property burning down.

*Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/fire-statistics-data-tables#dwelling-fires
jkarran - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> I assume that everybody in the Uk now gets £5500 cash following fire destroying their home..

Mostly social housing, mostly poor people in a very expensive city, plenty likely to be uninsured, many will have lost family, friends, cash savings, phones, computers, bank cards, car keys and ID to the fire, all the things you need to continue subsisting unaided by the state or charity. Some, the refugees particularly may not have any friends or family to fall back on. They're not in the same position you or I would be.

> Does not diminish in any way what has happened.

At the very least it seems you're rather lacking empathy.
jk
1
Neil Williams - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to jkarran:
Yes, this. While there were a few owned "fancy" flats in that block, the vast majority of occupants were likely to be living on the breadline, and this has made them destitute - and not just that, by an outside force that had nothing whatsoever to do with what they did (unlike the significant number of house fires which are caused by human error be that falling asleep with a cigarette, or using old, poorly-maintained electrical goods).

Five grand is basically nowt for the country to pay out.
Post edited at 12:20
1
fred99 - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to galpinos:

You forgot to mention their local MP - that lends a particular political slant to the matter.
BnB - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to jkarran:

> Mostly social housing, mostly poor people in a very expensive city, plenty likely to be uninsured, many will have lost family, friends, cash savings, phones, computers, bank cards, car keys and ID to the fire, all the things you need to continue subsisting unaided by the state or charity. Some, the refugees particularly may not have any friends or family to fall back on. They're not in the same position you or I would be.

> At the very least it seems you're rather lacking empathy.

> jk

No lack of empathy. I think he's angry that Labour has used a disaster which, as far as most people can see, is being addressed with reasonable efficiency and no small amount of public support, to incite authoritarian possession of private property and a "day of rage" on the streets. Good to see you're happy about that however.
4
neilh - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to jkarran:

Read what I said..my comments do not diminish the event.

1
neilh - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

At the moment it is being reported that the event was caused by a fridge fire.

The cladding did not to my knowledge self combust.

I am frankly amazed that the media coverage has not focused on this.There is even more to be made out of this risk.
5
jkarran - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> At the moment it is being reported that the event was caused by a fridge fire.
> The cladding did not to my knowledge self combust.
> I am frankly amazed that the media coverage has not focused on this.There is even more to be made out of this risk.

Domestic fires happen, they're a fact of life. Domestic fires in a properly regulated modern country do not burn a tower block and 70+ people alive.
jk
1
Neil Williams - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:
> At the moment it is being reported that the event was caused by a fridge fire.
>
> The cladding did not to my knowledge self combust.
>
> I am frankly amazed that the media coverage has not focused on this.There is even more to be made out of this risk.

Why? So long as you have electricity and gas in domestic properties there will be fires. There are far, far fewer than there used to be, of course. In houses, it's less of an issue because you "get out, get the fire brigade out, and stay out", as the 1980s campaign had it.

The point is that if there had been a fridge fire in an unrefurbished block it might at worst have destroyed one flat (due to the highly successful concrete cell fire blocking concept), not all of it. It's happened twice at a block local to me. To my knowledge nobody died either time. All it did is cost insurance companies money and cause a bit of hassle and upset.

Though having said that...there is a case there for Council properties and other social housing to be rented with white goods, which they presently are not, reducing the number of old, poorly maintained white goods out there. That said, there has recently been an issue with brand-new tumble dryers going up in smoke, and modern fridges unlike old ones use butane as the refrigerant so can and do go bang.

It's also a case for sprinklers to put such fires out, but that is a relatively low risk reducer if the buildings are built properly in the first place and not effectively modified to have something of the effect of a petrol-soaked rag up the outside.
Post edited at 13:56
2
jkarran - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to BnB:
> No lack of empathy. I think he's angry that Labour has used a disaster which, as far as most people can see, is being addressed with reasonable efficiency and no small amount of public support, to incite authoritarian possession of private property and a "day of rage" on the streets. Good to see you're happy about that however.

I've no problem with people expressing their disgust that this can happen on the streets and their frustration at seven long years of of austerity. Call that a day of rage if you like as McDonnell has, I'll just consider it legitimate protest.

I have no problem with Labour perusing the Tories over this, there is a story to be told and there is action required. Frankly it's their job! If the government had done theirs we might not be having this conversation.

Talking about occupying vacant property is hyperbole but does serve to illustrate the gross divide between the rich and the poor of London. Those poor, powerless and ignored burned alive for a few £K to someone's bottom line and those next door whose interests this council and government serve who can afford to leave luxury property standing empty. Requisition it? No, no need and counterproductive. Take the opportunity to highlight the situation and pressure the council/government to re-home people promptly and properly in the borough? Yeah, I'm absolutely fine with that.
jk
Post edited at 13:59
1
Murderous_Crow - on 21 Jun 2017
neilh - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to Neil Williams

I would suggest that if it's the fridge then addressing that issue is more likely long term to produce a lower fire risk environment than rushing around on the cladding issue/ sprinkler issue.
11
Murderous_Crow - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:
How about ensuring the overall safety of the building electrics:

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/grenfell-tower-the-kctmo-culture-of-negligence/

> 'In May 2013 a serious electrical fault causing multiple power surges at Grenfell Tower posed a major fire risk to residents many of whom witnessed smoke coming from light fittings and other electrical appliances, some of which actually exploded. Despite the fact that these highly alarming incidents were reported to the TMO on 11th May no effective action was taken until the problems escalated out of control on 29th May 2013. The power surges had been ongoing for 18 days with multiple reports by residents of electrical appliances catching fire...'

Even apart from the electrics issue, the above blog post reads like an indictment. Multiple breaches of effective health and safety practice were found over the years. It's massively concerning that such little attention was paid to basics of fire safety even in the building's design; how many other tower blocks have such poor access and egress? How many others have ancient and unstable electrical supply systems?

The lack of investment over the years demonstrates the deep lack of care for the less-privileged at a Governmental level. Heads will no doubt roll at the management organisation, but the problem is far deeper, more widespread and more insidious than a few bad apples. There's no money to even maintain these places adequately. No wonder people despair.
Post edited at 14:39
1
Neil Williams - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:
> I would suggest that if it's the fridge then addressing that issue is more likely long term to produce a lower fire risk environment than rushing around on the cladding issue/ sprinkler issue.

What, changing standards on fridge manufacture around the world, and forcing everyone to replace all their fridges, rather than simply providing a building that doesn't kill nearly 100 people if one bit of it catches fire?

I'd suggest you think about the implications of that again, really.

It's also quite possible that the power surge noted upthread was relevant...
Post edited at 15:59
1
Mike Stretford - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:
> I would suggest that if it's the fridge then addressing that issue is more likely long term to produce a lower fire risk environment than rushing around on the cladding issue/ sprinkler issue.

High rise buildings are a particularly dangerous case due to the obvious complications in extinguishing the fire, and of evacuation. I would think anybody would appreciate the need for multiple safeguards in that environment, especially after what has just happened.
Post edited at 17:02
neilh - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

I would be looking at Trading Standards and enforcement of the rules on CE Marking etc.

Maybe you should have a think about that.
neilh - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to Mike Stretford:

If the cause was a fridge catching fire then I like anybody else would be interested to know what caused that and what can be done to prevent that. You need to go right back to basics...otherwise its just going to happen again....and again.

If it means an upgrade in fridges etc, which I am told is the most dangerous electrical fitting in a house...then so be it. if it means more expensive fridges to reduce the fire risk-- then I am happy with that.
1
The New NickB - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

Great, let's have safer fridges, but let's not forget that this incident is about supposed safeguards against the risk of fire spreading failing.

You cannot completely eliminate the risk of fire, you should be able to localise it, fight it, safely evacuate close to it, etc
1
neilh - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to The New NickB:

This is from a UK fire training info. Note the comments about a certain brand.

Instances of fridge freezers causing fires in people’s homes and workplaces are prolific. So much so that fridge freezers are the most common white goods item to be involved in a fire.

The cause of a fire is nearly always the same. Failure of an electric switch, controlling the defrost / freeze function results in a small fire developing at the base on the back of the item. This quickly ignites the insulation materials around it (often polystyrene and plastic based). The refrigerant gas may then become involved. In fridge/freezers over 3 years old the refrigerant gas is Pentane, which is both a flammable and explosive gas. In newer domestic models, the refrigerant gas is most likely to be Propane, again a flammable and explosive gas.

Propane is now beginning to be used in commercial designated models. A common indicator that a unit may be at risk from a fire is the malfunction of the defrost and freeze facilities. This will present itself in the unit constantly freezing up or being unable to maintain a freezing temperature.

Statistically Beko models have been the most frequently subject to defect and resultant fires.

A number of recent incidents involving units have resulted in serious, life threatening explosions, whilst a number of fires have resulted in people dying from exposure to fire or smoke.
2
Mike Stretford - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:
> If the cause was a fridge catching fire then I like anybody else would be interested to know what caused that and what can be done to prevent that. You need to go right back to basics...otherwise its just going to happen again....and again.

There's been huge improvements in appliance safety and I also hope these keep improving, but you seem to be ignoring a fairly obvious point, which has just been horrifically demonstrated.

You will never reduce the risk of fire to zero, there's old equipment people can get hold of, and all sorts of human factors including malicious intent. In a house fitted with smoke alarms, these can be effectively dealt with by the fire service, in the majority of cases without serious injury. High rise buildings cannot easily be evacuated and fire crews cannot always reach the fire, multiple safety measures are required.
Post edited at 17:46
1
krikoman - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to BnB:

> No lack of empathy. I think he's angry that Labour has used a disaster which, as far as most people can see, is being addressed with reasonable efficiency and no small amount of public support, to incite authoritarian possession of private property and a "day of rage" on the streets. Good to see you're happy about that however.

Not really being addresses with empathy though, when the accommodation offered to one family, was in a hotel on the 14 floor!!! How insensitive do you have to be to offer this?

"There's STILL no one in control", is the word coming from volunteers in the area, surely there's some body which SHOULD be taking control.
3
krikoman - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:


>So much so that fridge freezers are the most common white goods item to be involved in a fire.


Not really though Fridge / Freezers are somewhere down the list at 7%

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-33124925
1
Postmanpat on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to Murderous_Crow:
> The lack of investment over the years demonstrates the deep lack of care for the less-privileged at a Governmental level. Heads will no doubt roll at the management organisation, but the problem is far deeper, more widespread and more insidious than a few bad apples. There's no money to even maintain these places adequately. No wonder people despair.
>
It's likely true that the less privileged find it particularly difficult to get their voices heard by government, although they do have a lot of organisations trying to highlight their issues, but is this really the core of the problem? Think Kings Cross Fire,Zeebrugge, Marchionesse, Millenium Dome, ERM, individual learning accounts, Assets recovery agency, Iraq war, child support agency etc, etc . All expensive and sometimes lethal cock ups of which the poor were by no means exclusively the victims. The list is almost endless.

Ignorance, complacency, bureacracy, disconnect across government, arse covering and, last but not least, knee jerk reactions to demands for instant solutions are all amongst the reasons.

In other news the governments has announced that 68 brand new social housing flats in Kensington will be made available to survivors of the tragedy by the end of July, which sounds like excellent news.
Post edited at 17:59
The New NickB - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

Safer fridges, great I'm not arguing about that, BUT 24 STOREY TOWER BLOCKS should not be almost totally burnt out because of a localised electrical fire on the fourth floor.
1
Graeme Alderson on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

CE Marking, what's that then? Oh yes it means Conformité Européene. Bugger!.
1
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summo on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> "There's STILL no one in control", is the word coming from volunteers in the area, surely there's some body which SHOULD be taking control.

It could be that there are people in control, bronze and silver control for example with the energency services. But the place is also likely to over run with well meaning people & organisations, who don't necessarily have a command structure and just come and go at random, as they please.
elsewhere on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to The New NickB:

> Safer fridges, great I'm not arguing about that, BUT 24 STOREY TOWER BLOCKS should not be almost totally burnt out because of a localised electrical fire on the fourth floor.

I'm amused you have a dislike for that.
1
Murderous_Crow - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:
I believe that poor and disadvantaged people are disproportionately more badly affected by adverse events in general. This is self-evident, and the existence of groups and organisations to advocate for people in such circumstances is a sad reflection on the progress we still need to make as a society.

Like you, I believe that when disadvantaged people find themselves in chronically dangerous living circumstances (congested estates, towers and run-down areas with high levels of crime and anti-social behaviour) it is difficult to even be acknowledged.

The Government only cares so far as it influences votes, and we as a nation are increasingly turning our backs on the less privileged. This can be seen in the way we collectively fail to take our representatives to task for the misdeeds inflicted on poorer people in our name, namely the erosion of the welfare state; the shocking decline in state-funded education especially in poorer areas; the lack of any significant investment in social housing for decades; the reduction in police numbers; the decline in our NHS. All these issues affect those in poverty more than the rest of us.

While the list of 'cock-ups' above is extensive, I'm not sure how pertinent or relevant they are to the thread. Each situation was driven by massively different sets of agendas, mistakes, missed opportunities and so on. Conflating them all is a broad stretch.

The thread at hand is about one type of modern ill: the housing crisis and its effect on ordinary people. Certainly culture change in responsible organisations has to be part of the solution. But in my opinion there's little doubt that the fundamental problem is one of investment - or rather the lack of it.

It's not about blaming shitty management. That's inevitable when we don't ensure oversight by doing things like popping in to see our MP.

WE are responsible. WE need to fix it.
Post edited at 19:18
summo on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to The New NickB:
> Safer fridges, great I'm not arguing about that, BUT 24 STOREY TOWER BLOCKS should not be almost totally burnt out because of a localised electrical fire on the fourth floor.

Indeed. What I don't understand is why it isn't law for every house to have X number of extinguishers or fire blanket etc.. what is appropriate for the work place can only be good for the place you live & sleep.
Post edited at 19:18
DancingOnRock - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

Smoking is the most common cause of house fire in the UK.

The enquiry will find out what issues allowed the fire to be so deadly.

Factors such as:
Fire stopping between floors. There was a refurbishment, were the holes filled correctly?
Fire doors, were front doors fire doors?
Combustible materials in stairwells and hallways. Bikes, pushchairs, cardboard boxes. All contribute to making escape difficult.
Fire PA: shelter in place is great, but how do you tell people when to leave?
Sprinklers: why weren't they fitted to the flats?

All of those are standard tall building prevention measures.

Some of them are irrelevant as the cladding caught fire. Some of them would have saved lives and maybe the fire wouldn't have got as far as the cladding if the initial fridge fire had been put out by sprinklers.
DancingOnRock - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:

Laws have to be enforceable. Who is going to check every house?
summo on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

No one, but perhaps they can be bought direct from a shop with a discount voucher from your insurer. Making it affordable and a little accountable.
DancingOnRock - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:

What about training? Would an insurer rather you got yourself and your family out and called the fire brigade rather than a massive payout because you decided to fight the fire yourself?

We have had training at work and are not supposed to use them unless you've had training. What extinguisher do you have in your house? Water, CO2, powder?
neilh - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to The New NickB:
I am not ignoring that, the cladding issue is blatantly obvious .It is do you not think strange that people are ignoring the actual cause.
1
neilh - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

So yet again we ignore the fridge.......
2
summo on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:
> What extinguisher do you have in your house? Water, CO2, powder?

Two 2 kg powder, two 6kg foam , plus fire blankets. Split upstairs and down, between rooms. We pump our own water and have the means to run a small hose from outside the house indefinitely as it's on a different pump/breaker to the house curcuits. Smoke / heat detectors in every room as appropriate. On top of this we have a little fire proof safe with critical documents and have also scan saved them virtually should the absolute worst happen.

We live in wooden house. 10mile from the nearest retained station. I would be lucky to see help in under 30-40mins. I might not have all the solutions, but I won't let the house go down without a modest fight, although there is nothing beyond the family that I would risk my life for.
Post edited at 19:48
timjones - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> So yet again we ignore the fridge.......

It would be a mistake to focus on the fridge when it is fairly obvious that other factors allowed the fire to spread far further than it should have.
DancingOnRock - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:
I didn't actually mean you personally.

In any case, your situation is quite a bit different to mine, I live in a brick house 4miles from a full time fire station and have a smoke detector upstairs and downstairs.

How often do you have your extinguishers checked? Personally I'd chuck a bowl of washing up liquid on any fire in the house. That's not always possible to find in an office.
Post edited at 19:53
DancingOnRock - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to timjones:
> It would be a mistake to focus on the fridge when it is fairly obvious that other factors allowed the fire to spread far further than it should have.

Rumours on the internet have it that the fire brigade had put the fridge fire out and were then alerted to the cladding that had caught fire.

Maybe not just rumours. https://www.google.co.uk/amp/www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/20/grenfell-tower-firefighters-put-fri...
Post edited at 19:56
timjones - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> Rumours on the internet have it that the fire brigade had put the fridge fire out and were then alerted to the cladding that had caught fire.


That story was on the radio news about mid-morning yesterday too.

The theory appeared to be that you wouldn't expect the fire to be burning or smouldering externally after you had extinguished it in the flat.
Eric9Points - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to The New NickB:

> Has anyone got a link to what he actually said?

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/18/labour-emergency-house-seizure-laws-could-ease-grenf...

You'll see that what he suggests is entirely reasonable. No one is suggesting leaving anyone out of pocket although that of course, is what the tories would like you to believe.

When the Government trotted out some buffoon of an MP to proclaim this was Marxist I think a lot of people will have thought to themselves that if it Marxism means lending empty houses to homeless people then Marxism is a pretty good thing.
Fraser on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:

> Indeed. What I don't understand is why it isn't law for every house to have X number of extinguishers or fire blanket etc.. what is appropriate for the work place can only be good for the place you live & sleep.

Because in houses and flats, the key imperative is to escape to a place of safety, typically outside, rather than fight the fire. If you forced home occupants to keep extinguishers, they'd need them regularly checked (as they do in offices), in which case everyone would complain of a nanny state.
Lusk - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:

> Two 2 kg powder, two 6kg foam , plus fire blankets. Split upstairs and down, between rooms. We pump our own water and have the means to run a small hose from outside the house indefinitely as it's on a different pump/breaker to the house curcuits. Smoke / heat detectors in every room as appropriate. On top of this we have a little fire proof safe with critical documents and have also scan saved them virtually should the absolute worst happen.

Well, that's absolutely lovely for you.
I'd like to see you trying to use any of it if you woke up in the dark, once a fire has taken hold.
I've woken up in a house fire, no chance of tackling it, I was rescued by the firemen in the end.
5
summo on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to Fraser and dancing on rock.


> , they'd need them regularly checked (as they do in offices), in which case everyone would complain of a nanny state.

They all have little colour coded gauges on them. Red, green etc. So a visual check is easy. Yes everyone's case is different. In the time you have filled your washing up bowl, I could discharge a proper fire extinguisher, then exit closing the doors behind me.

Nanny state, if it saves lives? Here annual chimney sweeping, inspection, pressure testing is mandatory and state run.

Perhaps forcing people is too strong, strongly encourage, perhaps with a bit of education about closing doors as you leave etc.. or even that some electrically items get hot and increase the risk of a fire.

summo on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to Lusk:

> Well, that's absolutely lovely for you.
> I'd like to see you trying to use any of it if you woke up in the dark, once a fire has taken hold.

Never said it was the total solution. But being 40mins from help I'd say I'm taking sensible precautions. I'm hoping that the number of smoke detectors will stir us before it takes hold, depending on the source of course.

> I've woken up in a house fire, no chance of tackling it, I was rescued by the firemen in the end.

Sounds both grim and fortunate.
DancingOnRock - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to Eric9Points:

Well it's nonsense. There are people selling houses in London, just buy them. No need to requisition property against people's wishes.

It just shows the calibre of Labour and the way they think. They're undoing all the good work they did on the run up to the election and starting to show their true colours.
3
Fraser on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:

I should have said that I personally think it's a good idea, but I do also think 'the general public' would dislike being forced to get one or some. Although it might be like car seat belts, eventually you get accustomed to wrapping them.

In reply to lusk:

That does sound grim. Did the house in question have any functioning smoke detectors?
Dax H - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to Lusk:

> Well, that's absolutely lovely for you.

> I'd like to see you trying to use any of it if you woke up in the dark, once a fire has taken hold.

> I've woken up in a house fire, no chance of tackling it, I was rescued by the firemen in the end.

Why the hostility to what can only be a good idea.
Last year our cooker set on fire and even though the fire brigade was here in a blisteringly quick time I had already put the fire out using a dry powder extinguisher that I keep in my van.
It took longer to find my keys to the van than it did to put the fire out.
From the amount of charing on the kitchen table and cabinets by the cooker we were lucky I got it fast.
We now have a 6kg powder in the kitchen and the bedroom, yes I agree that if the fire is in full force before you know about it a little extinguisher won't do squat but it might just get you to an exit or if the fire is still small might put it out.
DancingOnRock - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to Dax H:

There's nothing wrong with having your own extinguisher. It's a good idea, everyone should have one and be trained how to use it.

What's wrong is passing a law that's impractical to police and enforce and effectively criminalises the population.
Jim C - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:
With all the discussions prompted by the tragic fire, this led to talking to neighbour's who have criticised, to me ,mthe lack of fire protection provided by the management company concerned, but had little or no protection in their own homes.

We have fire alarms wired behind the consumer unit, so if the electricity trips ( RCCD) then the alarm will still sound and the lights on the alarms will still go off, in addition all the alarms are linked , so if one goes off downstairs it sets off the alarm upstairs. In addition we have an extinguisher in the kitchen and a fire blanket. I have had practical training ( at work) on how to extinguish various fires, but there will no doubt be free info on You Tube .

Thinking about it , whilst I have as above, some fire protection ,maybe I could do more, perhaps I should have an additional blanket and extinguisher upstairs, I should probably also get round to fitting one of those rope escape ladder devices under our window upstairs( they are affordable, and I can fit it myself.)

Edit, our local fire station is only 1/4 of a mile away at the most, but as our friend is a fire chief, we have been told being next door to the fire station is no excuse for no protection. ( and to get rid of the fancy smelly open flame candles )
Post edited at 00:02
Jim Fraser - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:
> And you think it is in the public interest and proportionate to appropriate property when there are a small number of families needing rehousing, rather than paying for say hotels?

> And you don't think this is Corbyn using a disaster and people's misfortune to further his political ideology?


Small number?

Well you see that's the issue isn't it? It's not like the war that my parents lived through where everyone understood because something could fall from the sky and it could be you tomorrow. No, this is a small number of traumatised persons whose lives will never be the same again and very few people are able to empathise. Since we are all outsiders to the problem, these people, and probably several near onlookers, are suffering a form of isolation. Who knows where these problems will lead in years to come.

It is for government to make sure there is a balance in the way that any such action is done.



Social democracy is great until it affects house prices isn't it?
Post edited at 23:55
Jim C - on 21 Jun 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Five grand is basically nowt for the country to pay out.

Just as well that Simon Cowell has organised the release of a benefit song, with proceeds going to the victims, how the money is distributed will be a big task, thankfully those decisions should be out of the hands of the government or the council.

Jim C - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:
> It just shows the calibre of Labour and the way they think. They're undoing all the good work they did on the run up to the election and starting to show their true colours.

Exactly, it is telling that the local residents who have been affected have reportedly said that they believe that some of the demonstrators are politically motivated , and have distanced themselves from their actions.

This is just the start, the new militant tendency's tails are up, but they have hopefully shot their bolt, and people will have had a tiny glimpse of what would follow a Labour government 'led' by Corbyn.

The left wing agitators that had up until now been carefully controlled ( so as not to scare the voters) but , they would soon run amoke with Corbyn in power.
Post edited at 00:21
1
krikoman - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to Fraser:

> Because in houses and flats, the key imperative is to escape to a place of safety, typically outside, rather than fight the fire. If you forced home occupants to keep extinguishers, they'd need them regularly checked (as they do in offices), in which case everyone would complain of a nanny state.

Except the information given to the residents was to "stay in your flat" the idea being the flats are "fire proof" for 30 minutes and that's more than long enough for the fire-brigade to arrive and deal with the fire.

Obviously, not when the whole building is clad with flammable materiel, but never the less, the little information the residents had relating to fire was to stay put.
krikoman - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:

> It could be that there are people in control, bronze and silver control for example with the energency services. But the place is also likely to over run with well meaning people & organisations, who don't necessarily have a command structure and just come and go at random, as they please.

They had a woman (volunteer) not from the council, holding a hand written note telling people where they should go to get help.

This SHOULDN'T need to be done by a volunteer, there should be posters, and maybe radio and TV announcements telling people where to go to get help.

I wasn't talking about the emergency services, and neither is the thread, it's about the aftermath and survivors and the recently homeless getting help, and NOT being able to get it.
krikoman - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to Postmanpat:

> Genuine question: can you point me to this law?

Empty Dwelling Management Order
Murderous_Crow - on 22 Jun 2017
MG - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman: I think this is genuinely tricky to manage. Catastrophes like this are, thankfully, rare. It would be absurd if every council had plans and teams on standby for the once a century occurance when they might be needed. Even temporarily reallocating bin collectors and council tax collection staff isn't really going to help much. At national level some sort of disaster recovery group probably exists, but it will inevitably have difficulty navigating local conditions and deploying. There is perhaps an inevitable gap between the emergency response and the long term solution of about a week.
summo on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> They had a woman (volunteer) not from the council, holding a hand written note telling people where they should go to get help.

> This SHOULDN'T need to be done by a volunteer

You only have this women's word she was needed though etc.. plus is she isn't part of the command structure, you have to hope she is sending the right people, to the right place, at the right time.
Murderous_Crow - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to Eric9Points:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/18/labour-emergency-house-seizure-laws-could-ease-grenf...

> You'll see that what he suggests is entirely reasonable. No one is suggesting leaving anyone out of pocket although that of course, is what the tories would like you to believe.

Quite. As is often the case, a little investigation into the context of Mr Corbyn's remarks reveals a generally considered and reasonable approach. He's often quoted shall we say, selectively?

Meanwhile, David Lammy MP (who lost a friend in this fire) makes the following common sense point:

> "When an individual commits a crime... we'd be arrested and charged. When an organisation, or a corporation, or the state commits a crime, it's a 'tragedy'."

It is criminal. It is a scandal. And in light of the above breaking news, it could easily happen again. Are we collectively going to hold our elected representatives responsible for this, and press for more progressive economic and planning policies?
FactorXXX - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

Empty Dwelling Management Order

How many properties would it apply to though: -

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empty_Dwelling_Management_Orders
Postmanpat on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> Empty Dwelling Management Order

This is irrelevant in this case.This only allows councils to take possession of empty properties which are dilapidated and the process involves going to tribunals etc. It takes years. The purpose of the law (2004 housing act, revised 2015) was primarily to stop the negative effect of empty and run down properties on ordinary residential areas and to be used as a last resort to solve this problem and use tham as housing stock.

It was not to requisition" luxury buildings and luxury flats left empty" (Corbyn) and indeed it would not enable the councils to do this. Even when the requirement that the properties be "dilapidated" was not included, all the wealthy owner had to do was claim it was a "holiday home" or similar and possession would be legally blocked.

Were Corbyn to attempt to use this law to requisition properties he would be perverting the law.
Neil Williams - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

The note is probably more use. Most of the peoples' radios and TVs will have gone up with the block.
Neil Williams - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to Murderous_Crow:

Right, time to strip it off, then. Might look rubbish but it'll at least be safe.
The New NickB - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> Empty Dwelling Management Order

I don't think many swanky flats would meet the criteria for EDMO's but I would like to see them used more generally. EDMO's are local government powers as well, so always more limited.
MG - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:

> Small number?

Yes - say 300/65000000. There are a lot of people in the country. These are small numbers.

> It is for government to make sure there is a balance in the way that any such action is done.

Correct, and the human right (you're normally keen on those, aren't you?) to own property weighs rather heavily in that balance. Even for multi- millionaire absentee flat owners. As, of course does the right to live somewhere and not be burnt to death.

> Social democracy is great until it affects house prices isn't it?

As are rule of law and property rights.

krikoman - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

> The note is probably more use. Most of the peoples' radios and TVs will have gone up with the block.

Right, but if other people knew too they could pass the information on, or perhaps the council could get some sign / leaflets and paste them around the area, so people would know more.
krikoman - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

> Yes - say 300/65000000. There are a lot of people in the country. These are small numbers.

and yet the number of people killed by terrorists this year 32/65,000,000 These are even smaller numbers.

So are we only worried about the magnitude of victims?

Is how much we care based on how many are affected?
FactorXXX - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

So are we only worried about the magnitude of victims?
Is how much we care based on how many are affected?


Try asking the politicians chasing the TV coverage.
Start with Corbyn, as he seems to be first in front of the camera...

2
MG - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:


> Is how much we care based on how many are affected?

We went through this. No, we provide support for this small number in a way that doesn't remove the right to own property from others, as can easily be done. If millions were abruptly homeless that might justify more powerful responses, such as requisition. What we have however is Corbyn using people's plight to pursue an agenda against those he doesn't like.

And we are all affected by terrorism, even if only a few are killed.
1
krikoman - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

> And we are all affected by terrorism, even if only a few are killed.

How am I affected, apart from when I go on a plane.

I've lived through the IRA and the recent attacks, and beside emotionally, it hasn't impinged on my life one bit.
I lost and uncle I'd never met and had nothing to do with our family for years in the Birmingham pub bombings, but I was only young and even if I'd been older he might as well have been anyone else.

Same as the people in the tower to be brutally honest.

So I don't see your point as a valid one.

DancingOnRock - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

I would have thought there is a standard plan in place for emergencies exactly like this.

The big questions are: Why didn't Kensington and Chelsea put it into place? Why has their leader resigned?

As I keep saying. Be patient and all these things will be worked out. I have faith in the people of this country working things out when they need to. Without knee jerk over reaction.
MG - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> How am I affected, apart from when I go on a plane.

Well that. And the huge wars that have stemmed from it. And the cost of security, policing and MI5 etc. And the intrusive surveillance. And the distrust between different groups it engenders

1
earlsdonwhu - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> I would have thought there is a standard plan in place for emergencies exactly like this.

The trouble is this was an unprecedented event on a large scale. Japan has loads of measures in place for earthquakes and tsunamis because they are hit on a regular basis.

No doubt, there could be generic emergency plans and the Council should have done better but perhaps expectations need to be more realistic.

krikoman - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> As I keep saying. Be patient and all these things will be worked out. I have faith in the people of this country working things out when they need to. Without knee jerk over reaction.

Yes, but you're sat at home, telling traumatised, homeless people to be patient, which might be easier to do if they were actively doing something, unfortunately people aren't being given any information about what they are doing , so it seems like they are doing f*ckall.

Putting people who've just been in a tower block fire in a hotel on the 14th floor, doesn't seem like they are empathising with the victims to be honest.

I've no doubt it will EVENTUALLY be sorted out, but like most issues, they need to let people know what's going on!

Not knowing only winds people up.
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krikoman - on 22 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

> Well that. And the huge wars that have stemmed from it. And the cost of security, policing and MI5 etc. And the intrusive surveillance. And the distrust between different groups it engenders

The wars haven't affected me directly, the cost of this fire is going to affect us all too.

But ALL that could be said of this fire, hopefully there'll be sprinklers fitted in any high rise building in future. People living in high-rise, must now be shitting themselves.

I just don't understand how the numbers are an issue for you, I don't get the divergence you seem to easily convey.

If we apportioned spending on a per victim case then all the money you point out above, spend on "terror" should be doubled for preventing another fire like this.
neilh - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

It has been compulsory to have sprinkler in new high raise buildings for a few years.Retrofits are more technically difficult and may not be ideal.

Considering you work in manufacturing I am amazed you cannot figure this out..
1
MG - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:


> But ALL that could be said of this fire, hopefully there'll be sprinklers fitted in any high rise building in future. People living in high-rise, must now be shitting themselves.

That's one option. However, given this fire spread externally very rapidly, it is a least questionable whether sprinklers would have been effective. If too many sprinklers trigger at once, there will be insufficient water pressure for them all to work properly. They may be justified universally after consideration, or they may not - there may be better ways of improving protection in retrofit properties..


> I just don't understand how the numbers are an issue for you, I don't get the divergence you seem to easily convey.

The numbers are important because there is clearly no need to requisition properties for the small numbers we are talking about. The suggestion was politically motivated, not out of concern for those affected.
krikoman - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> It has been compulsory to have sprinkler in new high raise buildings for a few years.Retrofits are more technically difficult and may not be ideal.

> Considering you work in manufacturing I am amazed you cannot figure this out..

But it depends on the system you install on how difficult it is.

There are systems which can be installed on the exit routes, which are obviously much cheaper than whole building sprinklers and give extra time for people to escape. There are external sprinkler systems which again are cheaper to install than whole building systems, which would probably of prevented this fire from spreading so quickly if not totally. Hallways and exit route sprinklers are easy to install, as you don't need access to everyone's flat and it creates a safe escape route.

I'm surprised you couldn't figure this out for yourself, wherever you work

Providing the rest of the building is to standard a fire in one flat shouldn't cause the whole building to burn, that was the whole idea behind telling people to stay put. It when short cuts have been made or poor installation / modifications have been made that allow fire to spread.

krikoman - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

> The numbers are important because there is clearly no need to requisition properties for the small numbers we are talking about. The suggestion was politically motivated, not out of concern for those affected.

Why then do we put so many resources into terrorism if the numbers are important, more people have been affected by this one fire than those who've been affected by terrorism.

How do you know the suggestion wasn't out of concern for those affected? I'd like to think we'd do anything we can to help people in distress, I know we don't, but maybe we should.
1
MG - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> Why then do we put so many resources into terrorism if the numbers are important, more people have been affected by this one fire than those who've been affected by terrorism.

As above we are all affected by terrorism to a greater or lesser degree - it changes society. That's not the case with even a severe fire. That said, we probably respond too strongly to terrorism in some ways

> How do you know the suggestion wasn't out of concern for those affected? I'd like to think we'd do anything we can to help people in distress, I know we don't, but maybe we should.

Again, as above, because it's unnecessary for addressing this problem. And this blank cheque "do anything" ideal for those in distress might sound nice but isn't actually practical is it? There is always a balance of considerations.

1
neilh - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

I have a friend who owns her own sprinkler design and install company.she employs quite a few people.

The thought it's easy to retrofit anything on old buildings makes her laugh.

Think I will listen to her.
Fraser on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> It has been compulsory to have sprinkler in new high raise buildings for a few years.

Sprinklers - are you sure about that?

Fraser on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to Murderous_Crow:

> Breaking. Up to 600 towers with similar cladding.


Now corrected to state 600 with any form of cladding:

"This story was amended on 22 June 2017 after the DCLG clarified that the 600 figure referred to high buildings with any form of cladding, not necessarily the ACM panels used on Grenfell Tower."
MG - on 23 Jun 2017
krikoman - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> I have a friend who owns her own sprinkler design and install company.she employs quite a few people.

> The thought it's easy to retrofit anything on old buildings makes her laugh.

> Think I will listen to her.

Glad to hear it, well done.

Was she talking about sprinklers in each flat though, you have got yourself in a muddle before by not including any facts in your postings.
krikoman - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

> It costs about £1100 a flat, apparently.


It doesn't need to be per flat though to be effective, hallways and escape routes, which are quite often undecorated and open spaces are much easier to install into.

You don't need access to each individual flat for a start off.
krikoman - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

> Again, as above, because it's unnecessary for addressing this problem. And this blank cheque "do anything" ideal for those in distress might sound nice but isn't actually practical is it? There is always a balance of considerations.

Well I'd say it's only unnecessary if everyone had somewhere to stay, obviously this didn't happen, not sure if that's still the case. It doesn't need to be a blank cheque, it needs someone to take control and they didn't, the fire and ambulances services seemed to do their bit all right and then it all fell apart.

neilh - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

I see they are now looking at the Hotpoint fridge...
DancingOnRock - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

The fire started in a flat. The other flats caught fire. The hallways were full of Hydrogen Sulfide gas not fire.

I think it's essential that the sprinkler system is where the fire is, they operate on fuseable links, soft metal that releases the sprinkler when it goes over a certain temperature.

It may 'only' cost £1100 to fit a sprinkler but there's no way that will include core drilling, firestopping and making good of all the internal finishes to each flat.

We have sprinkler mods done here all the time and it's not £1100 to move a head. Isolations, drain downs, pressure testing etc. It takes skilled man hours.
DancingOnRock - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> I see they are now looking at the Hotpoint fridge...

Yes. That'll obviously be looked at but only as part of the forensic investigation. Fridges catch fire, it wasn't the cause of the deaths, it was the cause of the initial fire. The initial fire could have been caused by absolutely anything and the result would have been exactly the same.
MG - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:
> It doesn't need to be per flat though to be effective, hallways and escape routes, which are quite often undecorated and open spaces are much easier to install into.

Well you could out sprinklers where they would have no benefit whatever, yes! To be effective they need to be where the fire load is i.e. in flats. And even there, again as above, they have limited effectiveness. That are not a panacea, or even necessarily the best way to improve safety.

> You don't need access to each individual flat for a start off.
Post edited at 13:38
Neil Williams - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:
> Well you could out sprinklers where they would have no benefit whatever, yes! To be effective they need to be where the fire load is i.e. in flats.

Erm, no. They don't have to put the fire out. What they can do is reduce/prevent the risk of spreading and keep escape routes usable.

They are better if they put the fire out, but then that's more expensive and inconvenient (simple property damage risk is just a financial matter). A cost-benefit analysis would need to be done. (Yes, even a life has a notional value, though it almost doesn't matter what it is because it's used for comparison as to whether the money will save more lives if spent elsewhere).
Post edited at 13:41
neilh - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:
It would be very disappointing if the investigation does not tackle the issue as to whether the cause of the fire could have been prevented in the first place. Never mind the subsequent cladding issue.
krikoman - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

> Well you could out sprinklers where they would have no benefit whatever, yes! To be effective they need to be where the fire load is i.e. in flats. And even there, again as above, they have limited effectiveness. That are not a panacea, or even necessarily the best way to improve safety.

But that's bullshit, a fire in a flat should be self contained in a properly constructed flat. OK the flat would burn out, but it wouldn't spread to other flats or the rest of the building.

Why do you think the original instructions to the people of Grenfell was to stay put?

It was because, the fire wasn't expected to spread, and the fire service can deal with and contain a fire in one flat.

If you fit sprinklers in each flat it becomes prohibitively expensive, so probably won't get done. There's also the issue of maintenance to deal with.

Having strategic sprinklers, make it cheaper that the full building by a considerable fator, and it allows people to escape.

If it's costing least to install , yet still saves lives, then it's more likely to get installed in the first place.
Murderous_Crow - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to Fraser:

Thank you. The original article was based on info from official sources. Sampling of cladding from different towers nationwide now ongoing, some samples have been confirmed as combustible.

Updated story below:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/22/tower-block-cladding-posing-danger-to-thousands-of-r...
MG - on 23 Jun 2017
krikoman - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> I see they are now looking at the Hotpoint fridge...

"....the most common white goods item to be involved in a fire."

Oh! no wait on.
krikoman - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:
I didn't say sprinkler INSTEAD of protective routes though did I? FFS!!!

You can have protective route with sprinklers.]

Once again a fire with a flat should be contained within that flat for a reasonable length of time, by design, allowing people to escape.

In fact if you'd read the link you posted

"The BRE research has however revealed that sprinklers when combined with protected routes in dwellings gives better protection to the protected route by reducing the toxicity of smoke in the protected route and therefore may allow the protected route to be used for longer. A possible solution where an alternative means of escape is difficult to achieve in a dwelling?"
Post edited at 14:10
MG - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:
If you are just going.to shout this is pointless. That article summarized the research on sprinklers in escape routes and showed, at best, marginal benefits.

I am well aware of how compartmentation is *meant* to work, thanks.
Post edited at 14:14
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krikoman - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

> If you are just going.to shout this is pointless. That article summarized the research on sprinklers in escape routes and showed, at best, marginal benefits.

I don't see where it mentions marginal in the paragraph I pasted from the document.

Whether the choice is made between protective AND sprinklers.

and I wasn't shouting only HIGHLIGHTING for clarity. But you are probably right about it being pointless, as you seem to have your mind set dead against sprinklers and any facts, even if you posted them yourself.
neilh - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

I do reckon after all the dust has settled on the current furoe over the cladding there is going to be alot of focus on fridges and other white goods which " catch fire".

Trading Standards people are going to be shouting " our resouces have been cut and this is the result". It is a reasonable point . i hope there is a big shake up in this area.
MG - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> But you are probably right about it being pointless, as you seem to have your mind set dead against sprinklers and any facts, even if you posted them yourself.

Not at all. I am against the assumption that because x wasn't present x would have prevented this disaster if it had been and *obviously* x wasn't present because of horrible people cutting budgets. It's entirely possible x wouldn't have made any difference and/or wasn't present because of an entirely rational fire engineering decision balancing various risks. Here x is sprinklers.

If after suitable investigation it turns out sprinklers or anything else would have materially helped and the fire engineering was flawed or was based on incomplete understanding, great, I will be all for installing them.

krikoman - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

> Not at all. I am against the assumption that because x wasn't present x would have prevented this disaster if it had been and *obviously* x wasn't present because of horrible people cutting budgets. It's entirely possible x wouldn't have made any difference and/or wasn't present because of an entirely rational fire engineering decision balancing various risks. Here x is sprinklers.

> If after suitable investigation it turns out sprinklers or anything else would have materially helped and the fire engineering was flawed or was based on incomplete understanding, great, I will be all for installing them.

No one is saying it would have prevented disaster,at least I'm not, what I was saying, was pretty much what you article said, " sprinklers and protective routes" give people more time to escape, as simple as that. I also said you don't need to go to the expense of fitting sprinklers in every flat, which again is born out by YOUR article.

Quite possibly the worst tragedy of this whole affair, besides the fact it looks like the building was clad in flammable material, were the instructions on what to do when a fire breaks out, not really a fire engineering issue, just wrong for the system when something (the cladding) changes the dynamic of the building when there is a fire. If everyone had made a run for it as soon as the alram was raised there maybe many fewer families without their loved one's.
krikoman - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> I do reckon after all the dust has settled on the current furoe over the cladding there is going to be alot of focus on fridges and other white goods which " catch fire".

> Trading Standards people are going to be shouting " our resouces have been cut and this is the result". It is a reasonable point . i hope there is a big shake up in this area.

They've know about Whirlpool tumble dryers catching fire since 2015 and yet they are still out there, no recall, only modifications in the home, but you might have to wait for them to be modified.

http://www.devonlive.com/is-my-tumble-dryer-at-risk-of-catching-fire-here-are-the-brands-you-need-to...

so I wouldn't hold you breath, especially since fridges account for "only" 7% of the white goods that catch on fire, there's another 46% of white good more likely to start a fire than them.
DancingOnRock - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Erm, no. They don't have to put the fire out. What they can do is reduce/prevent the risk of spreading and keep escape routes usable.

> They are better if they put the fire out, but then that's more expensive and inconvenient (simple property damage risk is just a financial matter). A cost-benefit analysis would need to be done. (Yes, even a life has a notional value, though it almost doesn't matter what it is because it's used for comparison as to whether the money will save more lives if spent elsewhere).

You clearly have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

How do you get a sprinkler to operate unless there is a fire underneath it?

Have you been watching too many Hollywood films?
DancingOnRock - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:
> It would be very disappointing if the investigation does not tackle the issue as to whether the cause of the fire could have been prevented in the first place. Never mind the subsequent cladding issue.

I agree but the logical conclusion to your argument would be to ban fridges, which isn't going happen. It could be that this fridge had a one off fault, it could be a faulty batch, or it could be a design issue.

I would have thought that would be done in any fire and certainly won't be the main focus as the fire brigade dealt with that part of the fire quickly without killing the occupants of that flat.
Post edited at 17:22
MG - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:
> No one is saying it would have prevented disaster,at least I'm not, what I was saying, was pretty much what you article said, " sprinklers and protective routes" give people more time to escape, as simple as that. I also said you don't need to go to the expense of fitting sprinklers in every flat, which again is born out by YOUR article.

You really don't need to shout! The article speculates at the end about combining protected routes with sprinklers having some benefit in reducing toxicity, yes. Your original claim however was they would stop the fire spreading ".. to other flats or the rest of the building", which they wouldn't. So by happenstance my article suggests your claim hallway sprinklers are beneficial *may*be true but for a completely different reason to the one you gave!

> were the instructions on what to do when a fire breaks out, not really a fire engineering issue

Well it is. It is part of the fire engineering approach for large buildings. If everyone "makes a run for it", the danger is the stair cases are blocked.

, just wrong for the system when something (the cladding) changes the dynamic of the building when there is a fire.

I think we can all agree the loss of vertical compartmentalisation was the primary problem here, and increasingly it appears the cladding was the primary cause of this. Beyond that, I really don't think we can start drawing conclusions, and certainly not about the optimal locations of sprinklers or evacuation methods.
Post edited at 17:34
krikoman - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

> You really don't need to shout! The article speculates at the end about combining protected routes with sprinklers having some benefit in reducing toxicity, yes. Your original claim however was they would stop the fire spreading ".. to other flats or the rest of the building", which they wouldn't. So by happenstance my article suggests your claim hallway sprinklers are beneficial *may*be true but for a completely different reason to the one you gave!

Once again you twist my words to suit yourself, My comment about stopping the fire spreading was for a whole building sprinkler system!!

I then went on to suggest this might not be necessary, by simple installing limited but, targeted sprinklers systems, which is what you article was about. Considering it stares pretty clearly that it gives more time when escape routes are limited, I think it's pretty obvious.

I do find you attitude to this fire and terrorist attacks at odds with each other though. It's interesting that you were quite vociferous about the previous Westminster attack being terrorism, without any conformation of this, and yet you are quite willing to wait before drawing conclusions on the fire.

And PLEASE stop telling me not to shout, I've already explained or do I *have* to conform to your methods of EMPHASIS?
Neil Williams - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:
> You clearly have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.
>
> How do you get a sprinkler to operate unless there is a fire underneath it?

Precisely. They keep the escape routes safe by ensuring there are no fires *in the escape routes* so an evacuation can take place.

If fire spread to an escape route, it would be put out by the sprinklers (i.e. wouldn't spread to the escape routes).

Do some research, this is *actually* common practice, not just something I made up.
Post edited at 18:06
Timmd on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:
> Not at all. I am against the assumption that because x wasn't present x would have prevented this disaster if it had been and *obviously* x wasn't present because of horrible people cutting budgets. It's entirely possible x wouldn't have made any difference and/or wasn't present because of an entirely rational fire engineering decision balancing various risks. Here x is sprinklers.

> If after suitable investigation it turns out sprinklers or anything else would have materially helped and the fire engineering was flawed or was based on incomplete understanding, great, I will be all for installing them.

A couple of legal profession websites I've chanced upon have raised the point that the residents tried to find legal representation for themselves, towards having more chance of raising their concerns in an effective way so that something was actually done, but thanks to the cuts to (free) legal aid they weren't able to.

I don't think it's going too far to say that one way or the other, austerity lessened the residents chances of being safe in their homes.
Post edited at 18:37
elsewhere on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:
Based on descriptions of those who got out and firefighters rescuing people, the stairs were impassible due to smoke rather than fire.

DancingOnRock - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

There shouldn't be any combustible materials in escape routes.
neilh - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

Do not be silly. The logical conclusion is to improve fridges.
1
neilh - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to Timmd:
The issue is not that. The issue is as the NY Times had pointed out is listening to what is being said and actioning it. This requires a culture change in the uk, a breaking down of the "state" knows best.
The tenants knew what was wrong and were ignored.

You do not need legal representation to actually listen.
Post edited at 19:38
Timmd on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:
Ideally you don't, but our free legal aid helps/helped more of the population to have more of a voice.
Post edited at 20:19
DancingOnRock - on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> Do not be silly. The logical conclusion is to improve fridges.

Ah yes. Don't buy from China, buy from Europe.
Fraser on 23 Jun 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

> If fire spread to an escape route, it would be put out by the sprinklers (i.e. wouldn't spread to the escape routes).

> Do some research, this is *actually* common practice, not just something I made up.

In the 35 years or so that I've been involved in building design I'd guess that <5% of them had sprinklers in their escape routes. They are almost always made 'safe' by using fire resistant materials in their construction, giving protection of between 30 and 120 minutes.

neilh - on 24 Jun 2017
In reply to Fraser:

Out of interest what's your general view on what's happened so far.

DancingOnRock - on 24 Jun 2017
In reply to MG:

Charmain and a major trustee of the Shelter charity have resigned.

Chairman was ex leader of K&C and the trustee is the single shareholder of the company that supplied the cladding.

This is going to go deep.
Fraser on 24 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> Out of interest what's your general view on what's happened so far.

I must admit to being fairly shocked at the fire spreading up the external cladding in the way it did, given that the cladding, as I understand it, was recently erected. Less surprised at the building, built in the 70's, didn't have sprinklers but given its height, it might have been considered at the time of refurbishment but for some reason was rejected.

I was, by coincidence, doing some aluminium cladding design last week for a hotel project, but it will incorporate different insulation in its 'sandwich' to the Grenfell type. As an aside, we also had a CPD presentation from a smoke extraction products manufacturer which was interesting and very timely.

Dax H - on 24 Jun 2017
In reply to krikoman:

> But ALL that could be said of this fire, hopefully there'll be sprinklers fitted in any high rise building in future. People living in high-rise, must now be shitting themselves.

I don't live in a high-rise so I am not really qualified to say but I'm not sure I would be too worried.
There was a representative of the fire service on the radio the other day who said there are 4 or 5 fires in Tower blocks in London every day that they deal with and the fire stays contained to the one flat.
So going back to the 60's and 70's when the tower blocks started springing up being that's 50 years of high rise living.
5 fires per day =91250 just in London alone.
How many disasters like this one has there been?

Lessons need to be learned from this and heads need to roll if negligence is found but knee jerk reactions don't help anyone.

Fraser on 24 Jun 2017
In reply to Dax H:

Spot on with your comments. Judging by interviews I heard earlier today on the radio from residents in similar towers, plenty are similarly minded. They decided to stay put and felt quite safe, despite being asked to leave by their councils.
Ridge - on 24 Jun 2017
In reply to Fraser:

> Spot on with your comments. Judging by interviews I heard earlier today on the radio from residents in similar towers, plenty are similarly minded. They decided to stay put and felt quite safe, despite being asked to leave by their councils.

I was watching one interview where an old lady claimed that the council were banging on her door at 8:30 at night telling her to evacuate immediately. I don't know if that was simply exaggeration for the benefit of the cameras, but if true it's a massive over reaction on the council's part.
elsewhere on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to Dax H:
> I don't live in a high-rise so I am not really qualified to say but I'm not sure I would be too worried.

> There was a representative of the fire service on the radio the other day who said there are 4 or 5 fires in Tower blocks in London every day that they deal with and the fire stays contained to the one flat.

> So going back to the 60's and 70's when the tower blocks started springing up being that's 50 years of high rise living.

> 5 fires per day =91250 just in London alone.

> How many disasters like this one has there been?

Conversely your numbers suggest as soon as you start wrapping tower blocks in inflammable cladding it will go up in flames because fires are so common.

For example, Grenfall went up within 12-24 months of the cladding being applied.

The issue is you no longer have compartmentalisation to prevent disasters when you add a cladding that burns.
Post edited at 00:26
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Dax H - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to elsewhere:

> Conversely your numbers suggest as soon as you start wrapping tower blocks in inflammable cladding it will go up in flames because fires are so common.

> For example, Grenfall went up within 12-24 months of the cladding being applied.

> The issue is you no longer have compartmentalisation to prevent disasters when you add a cladding that burns.

Yes hence heads should and hopefully will roll for fitting that cladding unless it's currently allowed by building regs but that's a different matter.

The news this morning is that so far 34 block's have been found with combustible cladding.
Grenfell was 12/24 months with it and I don't know about the others but it's safe to assume the same sort of time line.
It's also safe to assume that given the density of people in these tower's and the average number of fires in tower's in London per day that there has been other tower's with the same sort of cladding that have had fires and not gone up in flames.
Make the residents aware maybe even issue them all with a smoke alarm and fire extinguisher but don't panic them and remove the cladding ASAP and it will be fine.
DancingOnRock - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to Dax H:

I suspect weather conditions would have played a major part in the spread.

Windows would have been open and there would have been a very strong updraft causing a chimney effect up the gap behind the panels. This would
Have rapidly carried heat and flames into open windows above.
1
Jim C - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to Dax H:

> Yes hence heads should and hopefully will roll for fitting that cladding unless it's currently allowed by building regs but that's a different matter.

> Make the residents aware maybe even issue them all with a smoke alarm and fire extinguisher but don't panic them and remove the cladding ASAP and it will be fine.

However, once the cladding and combustable insulation is removed, they will no longer meet the EU directive that possibly led to them being insulated and clad in the first place!

So to meet the directive they may have to be reinsulated and reclad with non- combustable materials with appropriate fire breaks.

Jim C - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> There shouldn't be any combustible materials in escape routes.

Unfortunately that was not the issue, there were no computable materials in the escape route, but it was the smoke from elsewhere that got into the escape route that caused the most problems. It is a smoke extraction system that is needed in the routes.
summo on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim C:

> . It is a smoke extraction system that is needed in the routes.

And possibly fire doors need improving, holes drilled when carrying out extra work should be fire protected etc..

Then fire education, closing door and Windows on exit.
Jim C - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to andy:

Developers ( I was told by a developer) can sell the more expensive homes much easier, if they are not cheek to jowl with so called affordable homes.
Maybe that is a class thing that the potential buyers of the expensive homes prefer their neighbour's to also be owners of expensive homes, and so are less likely to want to commit to buy in an area which is mixed.

That is not a bias by the developer, but of people with the money to buy, and may explain why developers go to appeal to get round the local plan.
neilh - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to Fraser:

It's worth reading an American perspective in the crises:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/24/world/europe/grenfell-tower-london-fire.html?smprod=nytcore-iphon...

Interesting stuff
Jim C - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:
> And possibly fire doors need improving, holes drilled when carrying out extra work should be fire protected etc..

> Then fire education, closing door and Windows on exit.

Fire doors only work when they are closed, I was looking after a house bound elderly aunt for years who was living in a high rise, I often found fire doors propped open, and no one around.

The one time I did speak to someone, it was a lovely old dear who was cleaning the landing, she propped the fire doors open because the landing dried quicker that way as she had opened a window at the lift area and wanted the draughty to pass through to the wet area!

Fire education is key, but not a guarantee against human error.
Post edited at 08:29
summo on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim C:

> Fire doors only work when they are closed, I was looking after a house bound elderly aunt for years who was living in a high rise, I often found fire doors propped open, and no one around.

Would agree, auto closer only work if they aren't wedged.

> Fire education is key, but not a guarantee against human error.

No. But if the fire did spread up the outside then open windows with curtains wafting in the up drift would have allowed the fire to leap into flat easy and quickly.
Fraser on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim C:
> Unfortunately that was not the issue, there were no computable materials in the escape route, but it was the smoke from elsewhere that got into the escape route that caused the most problems. It is a smoke extraction system that is needed in the routes.

You wouldn't ordinarily install active smoke extraction systems in escape routes. I suspect it was fire doors in the apartments or lobbies that were defective (self-closers not working) or left / jammed open.

Edit: in the stair, yes, but not the corridors leading to it/them. Also, you can't have a single escape stair these days, but I think I read that Grenfell only had the one.
Post edited at 08:38
MG - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim C:

The fire safety will only work if it meshes with other considerations. Airflow in your case, or security or comfort etc in others. 99.999% of the time people have other priorities and these can't be dismissed.
Jim C - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:
> It's worth reading an American perspective in the crises:


> Interesting stuff

It is indeed interesting and some names have been mentioned that will be worth seeing if they come up again during the enquiry .
I also wonder if there is a possibility of corporate manslaughter charges in this case.
Post edited at 08:51
Jim C - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:

> Would agree, auto closer only work if they aren't wedged.

> No. But if the fire did spread up the outside then open windows with curtains wafting in the up drift would have allowed the fire to leap into flat easy and quickly.

Agreed so they probably do also need sprinklers and smoke extraction as an extra layer of protection.
Jim C - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to Fraser:

> You wouldn't ordinarily install active smoke extraction systems in escape routes.

But you must have heard those witnesses who said that they struggled to reach the stairs because the lobbies were filled with life threatening amounts of smoke, and as soon as the opened their door their first point of their ' escape route' was blocked by the smoke.
The stairway is not the only part of the escape route.
Dax H - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim C:

> Developers ( I was told by a developer) can sell the more expensive homes much easier, if they are not cheek to jowl with so called affordable homes.

> Maybe that is a class thing that the potential buyers of the expensive homes prefer their neighbour's to also be owners of expensive homes, and so are less likely to want to commit to buy in an area which is mixed.

> That is not a bias by the developer, but of people with the money to buy, and may explain why developers go to appeal to get round the local plan.

Some of the owners of the posh place the government have bought are complaining big time.
They seem to be a bit miffed that poor people will be living in their block of 2.5 million quid apparements with a £15000 a year maintenance fee.
The new residents will get all this free without having to work for it apparently.
DancingOnRock - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to Dax H:

> Some of the owners of the posh place the government have bought are complaining big time.

> They seem to be a bit miffed that poor people will be living in their block of 2.5 million quid apparements with a £15000 a year maintenance fee.

> The new residents will get all this free without having to work for it apparently.

I'd suggest that's propoganda from people trying to create more division for their own political ends. Do you have evidence.

On our estate we have social housing, as long as the Residence Ascociation pay the invoices and the residents keep to the rules regarding parking, putting bins away and gardens tidy we really don't care where the money comes from.
neilh - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim C:

I personally doubt they will succeed. They are so many layers involved that it was probay not deliberate on the part of all those involved. Just a series of accumulated cockups based on misunderstandings or poorly written regulations.

Mind you I would not like to be a director of a company involved. A lawyers feast.


DancingOnRock - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim C:

> But you must have heard those witnesses who said that they struggled to reach the stairs because the lobbies were filled with life threatening amounts of smoke, and as soon as the opened their door their first point of their ' escape route' was blocked by the smoke.

> The stairway is not the only part of the escape route.

There are several systems here getting confused.

Sprinklers - must be in the compartments where the fire is as they are activated by the heat of the fire. i.e. Inside flats.
Smoke extract - these must extract from the compartments where the fire is to extract smoke and protect occupants, and to stop smoke spreading around the building.
Pressurisation fans - these must push air into the stairways and corridors to prevent the smoke from the compartments entering the escape routes.

In a 1970s building retrofitting systems like these would be a logistical nightmare and probably prohibitively expensive. However, they are MANDATORY in new buildings.
Fraser on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim C:

> But you must have heard those witnesses who said that they struggled to reach the stairs because the lobbies were filled with life threatening amounts of smoke, and as soon as the opened their door their first point of their ' escape route' was blocked by the smoke.

I don't actually recall hearing that but I had assumed that would have been the case.

> The stairway is not the only part of the escape route.

Yes thanks, I do realise that.

krikoman - on 25 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> There are several systems here getting confused.

> Sprinklers - must be in the compartments where the fire is as they are activated by the heat of the fire. i.e. Inside flats.

> Smoke extract - these must extract from the compartments where the fire is to extract smoke and protect occupants, and to stop smoke spreading around the building.

> Pressurisation fans - these must push air into the stairways and corridors to prevent the smoke from the compartments entering the escape routes.

> In a 1970s building retrofitting systems like these would be a logistical nightmare and probably prohibitively expensive. However, they are MANDATORY in new buildings.

Don't forget dry riser, it works when the fire brigade get there. Again this could be installed to cover escape routes only (which makes it cheaper) and still gives useful extended escape time and reductions in smoke, heat and fumes.
Dax H - on 26 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> I'd suggest that's propoganda from people trying to create more division for their own political ends. Do you have evidence.

> On our estate we have social housing, as long as the Residence Ascociation pay the invoices and the residents keep to the rules regarding parking, putting bins away and gardens tidy we really don't care where the money comes from.

https://www.google.co.uk/amp/www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/grenfell-tower-fire-victims-ken...
DancingOnRock - on 26 Jun 2017
In reply to Dax H:
I wouldn't take too much notice of that. I thought you had an official complaint from a group of residents a when you wrote 'people'.

Anyone can call a radio station and claim to be someone they're not. LBC are always on the trawl for people with controversial views, keeps the phone lines going.

My understanding was the flats were already owned by a charity.

.
Post edited at 08:10
summo on 26 Jun 2017
In reply to DancingOnRock:

> My understanding was the flats were already owned by a charity.

Let's hope it wasn't Shelter, that would add a deeper twist.

neilh - on 26 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:

It was run by a not for profit organsiation.

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