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Keeping communal areas clear and safe

30 May 2022

We have a responsibility for the area where you live, and this includes making sure all communal areas in your building (if you have them) meet fire and safety requirements. Items stored or left in communal areas, which are shared spaces, are a hazard as they can prevent people from leaving the building safely in the event of a fire. It’s important we all do what we can to prevent hazards which is why we have a zero-tolerance approach to items left in communal areas. This means we will remove and throw away any items we find in these spaces without notice.

We want to keep you and your neighbours safe and can only do this with your help. The Fire and Rescue Services outline that storing belongings in these shared spaces can pose a real risk to everyone’s safety as it could stop you escaping a building and prevent the fire fighters from doing their job in an emergency.

Electric bikes and e-scooters

The London Fire Brigade has recently warned that they have seen a huge spike in fires as a result of electric bikes and e-scooters. We recognise that electric bikes and e-scooters are becoming common modes of transport, and we request that these are stored and charged within your homes. It is advised that if they have to be charged inside, they should be placed on a hard surface, away from escape routes, in a room with a smoke alarm, and only charged when the user is awake and within the premises. If we see electric bikes or e-scooters in communal areas, they will be removed and disposed of immediately without prior notice. This is to keep all those living in the building safe.

What you can do as a resident

If, as part of your home, you have access to communal areas, your tenancy agreement or lease will state that you should not store items in communal areas and that we will treat any items left as a breach of your tenancy or lease. Communal areas include stairways, lifts, landings, hallways, and any other spaces that you share with other residents. It also includes service or meter cupboards in your building. If you currently have items, including but not limited to prams, buggies, bicycles, plants, furniture, shoes or other household items, stored or left in these spaces, please remove them immediately.

Please also be mindful that uninvited visitors may be able to access communal areas and use or take items they find. The best way to look after your possessions is to keep them inside your home.

What we will do as the landlord

If we find any items in communal areas, we will remove them and throw them away which means you will no longer have access to them. We do not have the storage space to hold onto items for you. Your building has a TORT notice displayed in communal area/s to let you know the type of items that are commonly stored in these areas which should not be stored there. This list has some examples, but is not exhaustive. We have included a picture of what these notices look like below. If any Tort notices within blocks are found to be missing on inspection, we will replace them.

Let’s work together to keep you, your family and neighbours safe. We’ll ensure we follow through with our zero-tolerance approach to items we find in communal areas and you can help us by making sure you do not leave items in communal areas, even if it’s just temporarily.

For more information about ways to keep you and your home safe please click here. Alternatively, please contact our Fire Safety team on 0300 373 3000.

An example TORT notice

Updated: 23 June 2022

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