Grenfell Tower fire: Council suspends rent for people forces to flee homes

Residents forced to leave their homes next to Grenfell Tower in the wake of the fire due to a lack of utilities have had their rent suspended.

Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council, who have been highly-criticised in its handling of the aftermath of the disaster, said they will not have to pay rent until January.

The three buildings, in Barandon Walk, Testerton Walk and Hurstway have been without hot water since the neighbourhood's boiler, located beneath Grenfell Tower, was destroyed in the fire.

Any rent deducted from tenants since the blaze will be refunded, a spokesman said.

"This group of residents have suffered a huge disruption to their lives as they were evacuated from their homes.

"We expect to have the hot water supply restored during the next week so anybody else who wants to go back home can do so.

"We will continue to provide temporary accommodation for those that don't want to return."

Many homes in the shadow of the Grenfell Tower block were evacuated. Credit: PA

On Saturday, a co-ordinator for the Justice 4 Grenfell victims' group, said a survivor of the inferno had been charged rent for her ruined flat.

Yvette Williams told ITV News she does not feel the council recognises "how traumatised these people are".

On Friday, council leader Nicholas Paget-Brown resigned under increased pressure for his handling of the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire.

His departure followed the earlier announcement that the head of the organisation that manages Grenfell Tower was also standing down.

Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation confirmed Robert Black had agreed to "step aside" to "concentrate on assisting with the investigation and inquiry"

Retired judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick has been appointed to lead the public inquiry, which has led to concern over its scope from survivors, residents and the judge himself.

Victims of the fire could boycott the inquiryinto the disaster if the proposed investigation is not widened, campaigners have said.