Fire safety in communal areas

Fire safety in communal areas

Homes Plus works with residents to keep tenants and visitors safe in our buildings.

The safety of communal areas is a priority for us and for our customers. A fire in a communal area could spread between homes. It could make it more difficult for the emergency services to reach you and might prevent you from leaving the building in an emergency.

Advice about fire safety in shared buildings

If you have any questions about staying fire-safe in shared buildings or you want to clarify the storage/disposal policies for any item not listed here, our estate impact officers will be happy to help you. You can contact them on 0800 048 8955.

What do we mean by communal areas?

Communal areas are places in your building that other people share. We’re not talking about your home. We’re thinking about areas outside your front door – like landings, entrance lobbies, corridors, meter cupboards, lifts and open walkways.

Why do communal areas need to be kept clear?

If there was a fire in your building, there must be nothing in these areas that could:

  • Stop you escaping quickly
  • Prevent emergency services reaching you or your neighbours
  • Give off toxic smoke or gas when burning
  • Explode in high temperatures – such as non-safety glass in picture frames or ornaments
  • Cause fire to spread more quickly

If you live in a building that includes communal areas or your home has a balcony, you must ensure that you don’t keep or store anything in these spaces.

Do you remove items left in communal areas?

We carry out regular safety inspections in apartment blocks. All objects found in communal areas or balconies, that may present a fire hazard, will be removed.

We are able to store some objects for a short period. Customers have up to 14 days to claim these objects. If you wish to reclaim an item from storage you will need to pay an administration charge of £40 to cover the cost of removal, storage, transport and documentation.

Examples of some of the objects removed from communal areas and our storage/disposal policies can be found below

These items will be destroyed immediately
Artificial plantsWashing lines or racks
Door matsFootwear and shoe racks
Flammable liquidsOrnaments and decorative objects
These items will be stored for up to 14 days before being destroyed
Pushchairs and pramsBicycles
Children’s toysBookcases
TablesMobility scooters
Electrical items will be assessed and then either destroyed or stored for up to seven days.
Unwanted furniture and other items discarded by customers will be removed and destroyed. The cost of doing this is recovered through charges to customers at that address.

What should I do if something belonging to me has been removed from a communal area?

If it is clear who owns a particular object then we will leave a card at that property, letting you know that it has been removed in accordance with our fire safety policy.

If you have received one of these cards, or you think that something belonging to you may have been removed from a communal area, you can call the customer services team on 0800 048 8955. We will be able to confirm whether we removed your item.

If something belonging to you has been removed and stored, you can reclaim it within 14 days (seven days for some electrical items). If you wish to do this, you can pay the administration charge over the phone, on the number above.

Can I store my e-scooter or electric bike in a communal area or on a balcony?

Please note that residents aren’t permitted to store or charge e-scooters or electric bikes in communal areas including bike stores and mobility scooter charging rooms. If there is a fire, this could affect people’s ability to escape. 

Store your e-scooter or electric bike in a cool place. Avoid storing them in excessively hot or cold areas. 

If your e-scooter or electric bike is not going to be used for extended periods of time, follow manufacturer’s guidance for the storage and maintenance of the lithium-ion battery. 

Communal area fire safety tips to keep you, your family and neighbours safe

Top fire safety tips to keep you, your family and neighbours safe 

Fire doors
Fire doors form part of the fire protection of your building. No alteration or replacement of doors should be made without our written consent. Please do not interfere with or remove any door closing mechanism and never prop open a fire door.  

Communal cupboards
Cupboards in communal areas must not be used to store any combustible items such as tumble dryers and electrical appliances or other flammable materials, for example, large amounts of cardboard.  

Barbecues, fuel containers, gas bottles and motorcycles
These pose a significant fire risk and their storage or use are prohibited in apartment blocks or communal areas.  

Discarded rubbish can be highly flammable. It is a breach of your tenancy to dump rubbish. If rubbish is discarded by you or your visitors, you will be charged for its removal.  

Mobility scooters
These must be stored and charged in your own apartment, not in communal areas.  

Do not smoke in communal areas. This includes the use of e-cigarettes 

Fire alarms

Your building will either be fitted with an alarm within the communal areas which is linked to your apartment, or your apartment will be fitted with standalone alarms. Some buildings may have both. This depends on the building type and use. Where standalone alarms are in place, it is recommended that these are tested weekly. Alarms within communal areas are tested weekly by us and serviced every six months by third-party contractors. If you are having any issues with your fire alarm, please call our customer service team on 0800 048 8955.

Report it! 

If you have any concerns about fire safety in the communal areas where you live, please report it to our customer services team on 0800 048 8955. 

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