A new TV campaign by Rightmove has been abandoned after the Grenfell Tower catastrophe.
The advert, launched on Monday and aimed at renters, ran during Tuesday night’s ‘One Born Every Minute’ just a few hours before the disaster unfolded. It prominently featured an image of a high rise tower block.
Last night, a Rightmove spokesperson told EYE: “A new TV renter campaign launched on Monday and we’ve already taken steps to pull it due to the tragic events this week.”
Flats in Grenfell Tower had been advertised for sale or rent after being bought by former council tenants under Right to Buy.
The most poignant was a two-bedroom flat, advertised by OpenRent as available for move-in from May 6 this year, for £395 furnished. If it was indeed occupied at that time, the new residents would have been in it for little over a month by the time of this week’s terrible fire in which so many lives have been lost.
A two-bedroom flat in the block was recently on the market with Foxtons for £250,000, described as “a very light and well-proportioned two-bedroomed apartment situated on the 15th floor of this purpose-built block and featuring ample storage space and far-reaching views over London”.
Another, on the 18th floor, was advertised last December for £455 a week rent, or £1,772 a month.
The estate agents described the property as “a fabulous bright two-bedroom flat furnished within three minutes’ walk to Latimer Road tube station. The flat is on 18th floor of the newly renovated Grenfell Tower with panoramic views of London landmarks”.
Another two-bed flat on the 18th floor was marketed for rent by Halfapercent.com last May at £375 a week, including heating and hot water.
Historic listings were yesterday pulled and so can no longer be seen online.
Many mortgage lenders generally refuse to lend on properties above five storeys high and some are wary of ex-council properties, meaning that purchases of flats in Grenfell Tower were likely to have been by cash investors.
Meanwhile, new housing minister Alok Sharma was at a Westminster briefing on the tragedy yesterday.
He said that the inquiry into the fire at Grenfell Tower will be held under the Inquiries Act, passed in 2005. [The Act means that the inquiry must be held in public but critics say that its requirements mean delays in commencement because of statutory requirements to inform possible participants.]
Regarding reassurance that can be given to residents of tower blocks, Sharma yesterday said the Government wants councils and housing providers to carry out safety checks as quickly as possible.
He said that every family from Grenfell Tower that needs to be rehoused will be rehoused locally.
The tragedy also raises questions as to MPs’ own interests as private landlords and the extent by which rental homes must be ‘fit for human habitation’.
Labour tried to pass an amendment to the then Housing and Planning Bill in January last year, which would have required private landlords to make their homes safe.
However, it was rejected in Parliament by 312 votes to 219.
According to Parliament’s register of interests, 72 of the MPs who voted against the amendment were themselves landlords who derive an income from a property.