Disposing of items in communal areas

Appleby Court picsOur residents’ safety is a top priority for Catalyst. We also have a legal obligation to keep our residents safe from fire. That’s why we’ve now adopted a zero tolerance policy towards personal possessions or rubbish left in communal areas of our properties.

Items such as prams, bikes, shopping trolleys or bags of rubbish are a real fire hazard.

  • If there is a fire they cannot be seen in thick smoke and people could easily trip or fall over them. If they are blocking fire escapes, it will take longer for people to exit the building and could lead to people being injured or even killed
  • People could set them alight. Recently someone set fire to items left by the foot of a staircase at Appleby Court in Acton. The items quickly caught fire and produced a lot of smoke. If the fire brigade hadn’t made the area safe so quickly, people could have died as this was the only emergency fire escape. Nevertheless, 33 people had to be evacuated from their homes and four people were treated for smoke inhalation

Remember it’s part of your tenancy agreement or lease not to dump rubbish or leave personal items in these shared areas.

What Catalyst will do

Our officers regularly visit Catalyst homes to identify health and safety hazards. If something is left in a communal area, we will:

  • remove and immediately dispose of items that are a hazard, a high fire risk or are obstructing fire escapes
  • put a notice on all other items and write to residents living in the block telling them we will remove the items by a certain date. If no-one claims them, we’ll either:
      • dispose of it if it appears to have no or little monetary value, or
    • store it and give the owners time to collect it if it appears valuable. We may also charge for storage, especially if the item is large or bulky. If no-one claims it and we’ve stored it for a reasonable time, we’ll dispose of it anyway

If someone is leaving their belongings in a communal area where you live, please report. You may have even saved a life!