The Homes & Community Agency (HCA) is the UK state regulatory body for social housing; its job is to monitor the performance, finances and provision of services of landlords. Missing from the media coverage of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster so far is any discussion of what relation the HCA has to this horror story of corporate murder. Given the years of complaints from Grenfell tenants(1) about their landlord the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation(KCTMO)(2), we can reasonably ask why the HCA never stepped in to investigate the terrible tenant-landlord relationship and the many fire safety complaints tenants had flagged up repeatedly before the fire broke out.
They can hardly have been unaware of the problems, especially as there is one obvious close relationship between the HCA and KCTMO – and that is ex-property developer Anthony Preiskel, who is on the Board of both the HCA and KCTMO. As the HCA website describes him;
Anthony Preiskel has a commercial property background, involving work on regeneration projects, having recently retired from a career of more than 20 years at P&O, chiefly as Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of P&O Properties. He is currently an independent Director of the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, the company which manages all social housing owned by the Royal Borough.(3)
In 2012 when he was appointed to the HCA it was reported that he would be paid £12,000 a year for working two days a month(4). He has been earning more in a day than many tenants would take home in a week.
The KCTMO Board of which Preiskel is a member were certainly aware enough of the issues to pass judgement on them. Safe in their bureaucratic ivory tower, they reported having discussed and ruled on them a year ago with this horribly ironic comment that perfectly shows how clueless they were about what was happening on the ground;