Skip to main content Skip to footer

Safety in communal areas

As your landlord, we have a legal responsibility to make sure communal areas are safe.

The law says we must ensure that our buildings and communal areas meet fire safety requirements. This means that if there was a fire, there must be nothing in the communal areas of your block of flats or scheme that could:

  • Prevent people from escaping from the building
  • Stop the fire services from carrying out their duties
  • Give off toxic smoke and gas when burning
  • Explode due to high temperatures (e.g. glass)
  • Cause the fire to spread more quickly.

Communal areas are those to which everyone has access, including the entrance lobbies, landings, corridors, stairwells, meter cupboards, lifts, open walkways, external pathways, and balconies.

What you can and can't do in communal areas

We want communal areas to feel like home, and we understand that people want to make communal areas welcoming and attractive. However, your safety and the safety of others is our utmost priority. Therefore, we have some rules about using the communal areas to keep everyone safe, particularly in a fire.

  • You can’t store your possessions in the communal areas
  • You can’t leave any unwanted goods in the communal areas
  • You can’t display decorative items in the communal areas.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Pushchairs
  • Bicycles/motorbikes/mopeds
  • Doormats
  • Children’s toys
  • Artificial/live plants
  • Decorative furniture, i.e. bookcases/tables
  • Shoes, boots and trainers, including racks
  • Electrical equipment
  • Flammable liquids
  • Mobility scooters
  • Any other decorative items
  • Washing lines/racks
  • Items of furniture and goods waiting for disposal.

In some instances, we may agree to a properly framed picture secured to the wall safely; however, only under the following conditions:

  • Written permission is sought from, and agreed by, us
  • Consultation is carried out with all tenants
  • It does not cause an obstruction
  • The size/amount is suitable for the area
  • The picture can be removed at any time if requested.

We will aim to identify to whom the item(s) belong so we can request their removal; however, we may remove the item(s) immediately.

We may place the item(s) in the communal bin store area if there is one; however, if the item is still in the bin store area on the next inspection, it will be disposed of. If the issue continues, we may recharge the cost of the removal and tipping to the person who owned it or take action against a tenancy.

Keeping everyone safe

There are plenty of steps you can take to minimise the risk for yourself and others and keep everyone safe.

These usually form part of the fire protection of the building for both tenants and leaseholders. No alterations or replacement of doors should be made without our written consent. DO NOT interfere with or remove any door closer provided on a door. Also, DO NOT prop open any doors.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms save lives by providing early warning and extra time for you to escape if there is a fire or a carbon monoxide leak. You must test both alarms monthly to check that they are in good working order and keep everyone safe. Find out more on testing alarms here.

If you have a balcony, any stored items such as furniture and decorative items must be fireproof. Storing or using barbecues, including disposables, fuel containers, patio heaters and gas bottles on your balcony is not allowed as they create a serious fire risk.

Please note that it is a breach of your tenancy/lease to dump rubbish. If rubbish is proven to have been left by you or your visitor, you will be charged for its removal.

If you have a mobility aid currently stored in the communal area, please contact your housing officer urgently so we can discuss suitable storage solutions away from the communal area that do not create a fire safety risk.

To try and prevent the spread of fire between flats, such as from gaps created by pipework, a fire-resistant sealant or similar is used to fill the gap. If you notice any gaps in your flat, please report this to us and we can arrange to have them fire-stopped.

Occasionally, electrical white goods, such as fridge freezers and tumble dryers, are recalled by manufacturers because of a problem that could create a fire risk. You can find out if your white goods have been recalled and/or register for future alerts at


We operate a NO SMOKING Policy in all communal areas, which MUST be adhered to. This includes the use of e-cigarettes.

Please contact us if you have any concerns about fire safety in your block or scheme. We also have lots of helpful information about fire safety here.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help from our friendly Customer Contact Team.