Fire regulations UK for communal areas in flats

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    Fire regulations UK for communal areas in flats

    I live on the ground floor of a Housing Association flat which I partly own and rent. I have lived here for many years and for over 25 of those have stored a bicycle in the hallway, directly outside my flat. The bike is under the stairway attached to the wall and well out of the way of any exit. It would only be me that would pass the bike in the event of a fire.

    The HA has now instructed me to remove the bike as it is a fire hazard. Whilst I appreciate the level of concern and action due to recent events, I believe the disregard of practicality is absurd. I am being told I have to store the bike within my one bed flat, which is impossible.

    My argument is that the bike hinders no-one. It is attached to a wall, under a stairwell. The fire notices on the communal board show items that should not be stored in the area, namely items blocking doors or anything that may be a tripping hazard in a smoke filled area. My bike is not in either of those categories.

    I have argued the point with the HA but they just say it would invalidate the insurance, should anything happen. I believe common sense has gone out of the window and infact the 30 year old carpet in the ground hallway, that is coming up, is more of a hinderence and tripping hazard than my bike.

    Do I have a point and should I stand my ground or take it further? I would need some advice on what I can do. Thanks
    Attached Files

    #2
    Sorry but you're on a hiding to nothing with health and safety. Best options I can see is you offer to box in that area and form an understairs cupboard at your expense or try and get them to allow an outside storage shed
    Don't forget to tell them you rely on your bike for both your mental and physical health and your commute to work.
    Good luck.

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      #3
      No you don't have a "point". It is not your space or your risk to manage.

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        #4
        Thanks Andrew, very helpful.

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          #5
          Whilst it is legally a communal area I can't envisage communal use.
          I think Section20z makes two good suggestions.
          I would consider just leaving it unless there would be some significant consequence. I suggest asking to see insurance details to find out if it would invalidate it.

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            #6
            Dear Debbie

            Unfortunately, your bike should be removed. The HA are right to insist you remove your bike; communal areas must be kept clear. In the event of a fire your bike would not only be a fire hazzard but a tripping hazzard. The more in the hallway to burn or potentially trip over the greater the risk.

            I do understand the points you make but in fires people panic, become confused and the hallway would be in darkness and filled with smoke, For all these reasons and more Fire Risk Assessors would highlight your bike as a hazzard in their report and the HA would be duty bound to remove it or could find themselves liable for your actions. Additionally, there potentially would be insurance implications.

            Furthermore, the hallway is not part of your property and unless your lease provides you with a right to leave a bike in the hallway, there are no grounds to support your case.

            I don't wish to sound harsh but as someone who experienced the impact of fire in a communal hallway exacerbated owing to neighbours leaving personal possessions in the hall, I recognize the issue.

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              #7
              Thanks vmart. I think you are right. It is unlikely that anyone else would be in the hallway, however it could happen. I was being too sympathetic because there could be a safe solution.

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                #8
                In addition to what vmart said, parts of the bike (tyres, for example) may give off toxic smoke if burned.

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                  #9
                  Thanks guys, I appreciate your views, you've made me think a little differently about it.

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                    #10
                    Thanks Debbie, when you contribute a post, right or wrong, it's good to know it has been genuinely considered. You clearly have. If you can, when there is a resolution please add it to the thread. It could help with similar problems in the future. Good luck. There should be an amicable solution.

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