Tenancy guide

Communal areas rules

Safety in shared areas of flats

Residents living in blocks of flats must keep walkways, stairways, hallways and other shared areas clear of any items for everyone’s safety. 

The following items must not be left in shared areas:

  • All decorative items such as plants and pictures
  • Doormats, shoes, shoe racks, coat racks, tables
  • Bicycles, prams, buggies or pushchairs
  • Toys
  • Bins, including recycling bins
  • Electronic equipment and white goods.

In summary, no possessions, or unwanted goods, or decorative items must be left in shared or communal areas. These present a risk if there is a fire. Storing items in hallways, stairways and walkways could:

  • block someone’s escape in an emergency or be a trip hazard
  • create further pockets of fire, especially if made of flammable material 
  • give off smoke or toxic fumes that would affect you
  • get in the way of the Fire Service

As landlord we have to carry out risk assessments of escape routes in communal areas and deal with hazards which make it difficult to get out. It is also a requirement of your tenancy / lease to keep communal areas clear.

Mobility aids and scooters

If you store your mobility aid / scooter in the communal area, contact us to discuss storage arrangements by emailing housing@harrow.gov.uk

What will happen to items left in shared areas?

We will write to you or place notices on any items that are found, to warn the owner that the item(s) will be removed.

  1. Items of little or no monetary value will be thrown away
  2. Higher value items will be stored for a maximum of one month and will be available for collection by prior appointment only
  3. A charge of £100 is payable for the cost of removal and storage

We will remove items without notice where there is an immediate fire risk or other health and safety risk.


It is against the law to smoke in any communal areas of our buildings including landings and stairwells.


Any items stored on a balcony  must be fire-proof. You may not store barbecues, fuel containers or gas bottles on your balcony.