Keeping communal spaces clear
Our Clear Communal Spaces policy details the importance of keeping communal areas such as stairs and hallways clear.
The policy is designed to keep all communal areas or corridors in Brighter Places flats clear and safe for all residents.
If you are a resident living in a block of flats with a communal area or corridor please read view and download our Safety in Communal Areas leaflet here.
To help you understand what you need to do, we’ve put together the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) below.
If you have any queries or you cannot find the answer to your question here, please contact our customer services team on 0117 942 4600.
Why have you sent me a letter about my internal communal area?
We have written to all residents who share an internal communal area with their neighbours to tell them that our policy has changed. From Monday, 6 June 2022, you are no longer able to store personal items in any communal area.
Why are you making this change?
The communal area of your block is owned by Brighter Places. We have a legal obligation to ensure these areas remain free of items that might cause or contribute to a fire, as well as any items which might present a trip hazard or obstruct your means of escape in the unlikely event of a fire. The local fire service informs us that goods stored, or belongings and rubbish disposed of in communal areas, can be a serious hazard in the event of a fire. They can block escape routes, block access for emergency services and even potentially be subject to arson.
You previously gave me permission to keep my pushchair in the hallway. Can I continue to do this?
Even if you’ve previously had permission to use the internal communal area for storage (including for items such as pushchairs) this change now applies to you. Nothing can be stored in these areas.
Are door mats allowed in the communal area?
Doormats are not permitted in any communal space.
I have my own front door. Can I keep things in my hallway?
This policy applies to all internal communal areas. It does not apply to areas which are for your exclusive use, but we advise all residents to keep exit routes clear so that you can leave quickly if there’s an emergency such as a fire.
In our block we’ve put up pictures and have a table for post. Can we keep these as they’re not blocking the exit route?
We appreciate that some residents want to personalise communal areas and we’re sorry that this change may cause inconvenience, but the policy applies to everything in the internal communal areas. You can no longer keep pictures, tables, cupboards, shoe racks etc, in the hallway or any other communal area.
How will you know if our internal communal area is kept clear?
As part of our health and safety responsibilities, we carry out ‘communal area risk assessments’ where we check that your shared areas are safe. These will continue and our assessor will act if they find items in the hallways or any other communal area. Other residents may also report items in communal areas to us.
What will you do if you find items in the internal communal areas?
If items in the communal areas present an immediate danger, we may remove them without notice. Otherwise we will follow the process set out below.
Firstly, we’ll try to establish who the items belong to. We’ll take photographs and place a sticker of notice on the item/s making residents aware that the items need to be removed.
After seven days we will visit again to see whether the communal areas are clear. If items remain, we will request for the item/s to be removed and stored in our storage unit.
Please be aware that any item left in communal areas will be removed and you will be charged £50 for each item removed.
We ask for your co-operation and consideration for your neighbours in complying with the policy immediately. Please do not wait until an inspection or notice before you clear the communal areas of all your possessions.
If you remove my possessions, can I get them back?
Your item/s will be stored for 28 days, and if not claimed during this time disposed of. To claim your item, you will need to call our customer service team on 0117 942 4600.
I don’t agree with this new policy. What can I do about it?
We’re very sorry that some residents may find this change difficult and won’t want to remove things from communal areas.
We want to protect residents and ensure the best possible outcome in the event of an emergency such as a fire. As such we will not be making any exceptions or changing this policy.