Status of objects on common parts

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    Status of objects on common parts

    A policeman once told me that anything left on the common parts of our small block of flats legally belongs to the freehold company and can be moved. I was then a company officer and this was during a conversation following an incident where a resident had sold one of the fence panels to the owner of a neighbouring property after storm damage. In case you're wondering the policeman sucked his teeth and said the magic words 'civil matter' 'nothing to do with us'.

    This was perhaps twenty years ago. More recently I have read that it might be a criminal offence to interfere with objects that residents put on the common parts even if the lease forbids it. So the only way to get rid of offending objects is what then, legal action? Sledgehammer to crack nut comes to mind.

    I have moved things over the years. Spare tyres, extra bins, barbecues, things that people put outside because they don't want to mess up their interiors but see nothing wrong with messing up the exterior which they regard as belonging to nobody - so it's ok. Should I be in jail?

    I ask this because it raises the general question of whether lease covenants should be easier to enforce.
    Is it absurd that the potential high cost of enforcement deters action and makes the lease a useless piece of paper.

    My view would be that articles left in the hallway should have a note attached (and photographed) requesting that the item be removed within say 7 days explaining that if it is not removed then the item will be taken away to a secure place and will be returned on payment of the storage costs. The note should advise that it is a breach of the regulations (invariably in the lease) and therefore a breach of the lease. This will avoid any accusation of theft.

    The landlord must not be placed in a position where there is a potential breach of health and safety because of items cluttering up the communal hallway.


      As a managing agent, my approach is similar to that described by sgclacy. We put a note on with a deadline to remove, and depending on the issue the item may be taking to a bin, or held if they're valuable. Ultimately, we're contracted to ensure the building is compliant with H&S and Fire Regs, as well as the lease regulations, so this is the main thing (even though that doesn't make us popular with other residents).

      I certainly wouldn't be worried about moving or removing personal items in the hallways as we've given plenty of opportunity to remove them (letters and notes on the items) so if that's ignored, that's as good as them being fly tipped.

      That said, I agree with Nelly Muggins suggesting covenants should be easier to enforce. Effectively, a lot of them are un-enforceable without serious legal costs - something which residents have no idea about when they become a leaseholder. I believe the majority of covenants are convenient for developers when they're trying to sell the flats, but become fairly useless after that.


        sgclacy and TheGoodAgent. Thank you, That's interesting. We've had more problems outdoors. What about bicycles chained to trees? Same principles apply I suppose.
        I just find it depressing that people do things like this. Like spitting out chewing gum in the public street.


          Originally posted by Nelly Muggins View Post
          A policeman once told me that anything left on the common parts of our small block of flats legally belongs to the freehold company and can be moved.


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