Estate agents are uniting to urgently find accommodation for the survivors of last week’s Grenfell Tower fire in North Kensington.
One week ago, on Wednesday 14th June 2017, a fridge fire spread throughout a 24-storey tower block in North Kensington. The country woke on Thursday morning to the shocking scenes of the blaze, which is believed to have killed over 79 people.
Daniels, which has five offices in London, has responded to the catastrophe by searching for accommodation for those who have survived the fire and lost their homes.
The agent says that the imperative and co-ordination now seems to be coming from central Government.
The Operations Manager of Daniels, Brendan Ryan, says: “The day after the blaze, we contacted Kensington and Chelsea Council to offer whatever help we could, but we got no response.
“On Monday this week, we heard from our own local council, Brent, which was asking for help locating empty two, three and four-bedroom properties that were available for rent.”
He continues: “We immediately contacted our entire database asking if they, or anyone they knew, had a suitable property. As a result, we have had between 40 and 50 offers, which we have now put forward.
“All we know at this stage is that the full market rent will be offered and paid by central Government, and that there will be the usual shorthold tenancies. Other than that, there is no detail.”
Ryan explains what his firm have been offering to help: “We will be waiving all our usual fees, and our property management team is working flat out to find as many homes as we can and to make these ready to move into as soon as possible.
“People have been calling us; homeowners offering to move out of their own properties, so that the tower survivors can move in. But of course, that is not what we want. The community spirit really is remarkable, but it is not just the community that is pulling together – it is estate agents too. I have been contacted by others, including Spicerhaart and Countrywide, wanting to join in the effort.”
Ryan appeals for any estate agents, their friends or contacts knowing of vacant properties within one or two miles of Grenfell Tower to get in touch.
“This is where the need really seems to be,” he says.
Anyone who may be able to help should call Daniels on 0208 452 7999 and ask to speak to any of the managers.
It is not known how many survivors there are of the blaze.
Daniels has also risen above politics and potential fake news, with stories that some survivors have been given temporary accommodation miles away – some as far as Preston – and that others have been offered high-rise homes, including multi-storey hotels, which traumatised victims have refused to enter.
The new Housing Minister, Alok Sharma, has so far kept a very low profile on the disaster, but, yesterday, property expert Henry Pryor received what looks to be the first direct tweet from Sharma.
In it, he said that the policy was to “house [victims] locally”.
Distressingly, one lawyer believes that some victims of the blaze will never be identified due to subletting of flats.
Our thoughts are with all those affected by this terrible tragedy.