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Communal areas

What should I do in the event of a fire?

Communal area housekeeping

A fire occurring in a block of flats can endanger the safety of all the people who reside in the building, therefore it is vital we ensure communal areas are managed effectively to ensure the risk of a fire occurring is minimised.

To help achieve this we will ensure all communal areas are kept free from obstructions or hazards to protect the health and safety of our customers and other users of our buildings.

This guidance applies to customers and leaseholders of Beyond Housing and their visitors. Customers and leaseholders will be held responsible for any breaches of this procedure by their visitors.

More information and frequently asked questions about staying safe in the event of

What are my responsibilities?

The area outside your property is a communal area and should not be used as an extension of your home. Please refrain from using communal areas to store your personal items.

You are responsible for ensuring the area immediately outside your home adheres to the communal standards and you have a shared responsibility for any general communal area in the building. Leaseholders also have the same shared responsibilities.

What items can I store/place in the communal area?

The only items which are permitted to be stored in communal areas are:

  • A thin, non-slip doormat (not a section of carpet). All other non-conforming mats will be removed as they present a trip hazard in the event of an emergency
  • Picture(s) or notice boards if they are secured to the wall and enclosed in glass or Perspex. It is not permitted to hang pictures on a string. Permission must be sought from the Communities team before affixing any item to a communal wall.
What items are prohibited from being placed in communal areas?

All items other than those mentioned above are prohibited from being stored or displayed in any communal area. The below list is an example of items that must not be placed in a communal area:

  • Mobility scooters
  • Motorbikes or other petrol-powered equipment such as lawnmowers
  • Pushchairs, buggies, prams etc
  • Furniture
  • Bedding or mattresses
  • Washing machines, fridges, freezers
  • Portable electrical goods, TVs, music players etc.
  • Washing lines or clothes dryers (in enclosed corridors and staircases)
  • Bicycles (in enclosed corridors and staircases)
  • Fuel containers or gas bottles (including oxygen bottles)
  • Shopping trolleys
  • Lockers, bookcases
  • General rubbish, black bags of rubbish, bundles of newspapers or clothing etc.
  • Carpets or rugs
  • Festive decorations (Christmas trees, lights etc.)
  • Gardening equipment
  • Barbecues.

A communal area is any area outside of a customer’s or leaseholders’ property. Such areas include:

  • Corridors
  • Stairways
  • Landings
  • Lobbies
  • Meter/store cupboards
  • Entrances to the building
  • External gardens and bin stores
  • Garages and parking areas.
Customers and leaseholders must ensure
  • Fire escapes and general access routes are kept clear at all times
  • Communal areas including store cupboards, meter rooms and bin rooms are not used to store or dispose of personal items
  • Rubbish is placed directly into bin chutes where they are installed. Rubbish must be bagged appropriately so that it fits into the chutes and must not be left within bin chute rooms
  • Wheelie bins are not placed directly adjacent to the building or fire exits.

Top tip!

Make sure you know your escape route and where your nearest emergency exit is in the case of a fire.