Grenfell Tower managers to be stripped of 10,000 homes after deadly blaze

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Council chiefs are set to strip the housing company that runs Grenfell Tower of its responsibility to manage almost 10,000 homes, the Standard reveals today.

Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation is to be dismantled amid concerns about its ability to oversee the borough’s housing stock after the fire on June 14, which left at least 80 people dead.

Kensington and Chelsea council has started talks with housing associations, local authorities and other housing bodies as it seeks alternative management for its social housing portfolio.

Scotland Yard has said it has “reasonable grounds” to suspect that the TMO and the council could have committed corporate manslaughter over the fire.

Barry Quirk, the council’s acting chief executive, said: “I cannot see the TMO as a viable option for managing stock into the future, given the liabilities and challenges that it potentially faces. They’re facing — like we are — questions in a public inquiry and a criminal investigation.

“We are very keen, in discussions with TMO, to secure an orderly transition of services on a phased basis to ensure that residents receive continued service into the future.” Theresa May confirmed yesterday that the management of the Lancaster West estate, which includes Grenfell Tower, was being taken in-house by council staff.

Look inside Chelsea flats bought for Grenfell survivors

Council leader Elizabeth Campbell said: “We have listened to communities and to the residents of North Kensington, and it is clear that public trust has been broken and there is no future role for the KCTMO. I spoke to the Prime Minister and the council is looking at all options for managing our own housing in the future.”

The TMO is contracted to manage the borough’s entire housing stock of 9,760 properties on a not-for-profit basis, at arms length from the council.

Set up in 1996, it is the largest organisation of its kind in Britain, with more than 200 staff, and had a turnover of £17.6 million in the last financial year.Its chief executive Robert Black stepped down in June “to concentrate on assisting with the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy investigation and inquiry”.

Mr Quirk — brought in from Lewisham council after former Kensington and Chelsea chief Nicholas Holgate resigned in June — said “vociferous” public anger at the TMO would make it difficult for the organisation to continue. Mr Quirk has written to the TMO informing it of his recommendation and said its management “agree”. He said: “I didn’t feel I could give assurances about safety for them managing large capital works.”

Kensington Labour MP Emma Dent Coad, a local councillor, said: “TMO residents have stated that they would prefer to have their homes taken back in-house by a competent team, with the option of setting up estate-based TMOs if they so decide by vote.”

Samia Badani, chair of the residents’ association for Bramley House, a TMO-managed block of flats close to the Lancaster West estate, said tenants “don’t feel safe”. Mr Quirk told a public meeting at the Al Manaar Muslim Cultural Heritage Centre that he was looking to treble the council’s housing stock set aside for Grenfell survivors, which stands at 105 properties.

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