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Managing the Area You Live In

Communal Areas

Many of our housing areas have internal or external communal areas that are shared by all tenants and leaseholders living there.  These might include entrance areas, stairwells, balconies or landings in flats, communal rooms in sheltered schemes, shared gardens and bin areas and facilities for residents such as shared laundry rooms.

There may be charges for some services like cleaning and gardening in communal areas. These are known as service charges.

Maintenance of communal / shared areas

The council will maintain communal areas in terms of:

  • the structure and outside of the building
  • the fittings for the supply of water, gas and electricity for communal areas
  • security and door entry systems
  • decorative order and flooring
  • communal lighting and heating
  • communal garden services such as cutting grass and hedges back
  • communal bin areas and bin stores

Your responsibilities

As a tenant or leaseholder, it is your responsibility to keep all entrances, passageways, balconies, communal halls and stairs clean and free from obstruction.

  • You may not smoke in internal communal areas.
  • You may not prop or wedge open security or fire doors.
  • You may not store any items in communal areas (see below)

If you notice a repair is required in a communal area, please report it on 0300 126 3000.

Sterile Environment Policy

The council has adopted a Sterile Environment policy in all blocks of flats and their communal areas.  The move is based on the advice of the Fire Service, which says that the implementation of a Sterile Environment policy in our blocks of flats will increase tenant safety and safeguard against the threat of fire spreading.

The policy ensures our blocks comply with current best practice by making sure that all communal areas are kept clear of any items.  This includes bicycles, doormats, prams / pushchairs, plants, old furniture and any other items.  This means if you place any items in a communal area you will be asked to remove them.

In the event of a fire in a block of flats, we run a ‘stay put’ policy. Tenants in unaffected flats are advised to remain in their properties while the Fire Service deals with the incident.  However, the policy is undermined when items are stored in communal areas - such as shared stairways and landings – as they provide fuel for fires to spread between properties, while potentially impeding access for firefighters and hindering safe exit from the building.

Of particular danger to residents are mobility scooters.  These vehicles have a poor safety record and have been the cause of many serious fires. As a consequence, they are now banned from all of our communal areas. This video demonstrates the hazard that mobility scooters present.