Our communal area policy has rules about what you can keep in the shared areas of your building.  

Communal or shared areas include: 

  • staircases and under stairs 
  • corridors 
  • entrances and exits 
  • fire exits 
  • riser cupboards 
  • electrical intake cupboards 
  • lift motor rooms, tank rooms and drying rooms 

You must keep shared areas clear at all times of anything that could catch fire or get in someone’s way. 

Items that must be moved  

We want you to be able to enjoy your home and personalise your space. 

However, you must not use shared areas or corridors to store: 

  • electric bikes, scooters and wheelchairs (see fire safety advice
  • motorbikes  
  • prams or buggies  
  • bin bags  
  • tools or DIY equipment  
  • chairs or furniture  
  • plastic plant pots  
  • mobility scooters  
  • shoes or shoe racks 

Acceptable items 

If you live in a purpose-built block, the following items can be stored in shared areas: 

  • doormats, if standard size without flammable materials or carpet underneath 
  • real plants, if they are in terracotta, earthenware or metal pots 
  • bicycles, if not obstructing exit routes or stairways 
  • small metal garden furniture, if it does not block an exit 

If you live in a street property, you can have a doormat but nothing else. 

Removal of items 

If we find an item that is not allowed to be stored in a shared area, you will have 7 days to remove it. If an item is an immediate fire risk, it may be removed straight away. 

We will attach a notice to the item and explain in writing that we will remove it. The notice may be a sticker, small flyer or a large paper tag. 

If an item is removed, it will not be stored and may be disposed of immediately. 

If you have not removed the item within 7 days, a housing officer will attempt to speak to you in person before removing the item. 

Extra storage 

If you have nowhere to store an item in your home, we will work with you to provide extra storage. 

We will consider your needs and provide extra storage where possible. But any items that present a fire risk will still need to be removed within the notice period. 

Metal security gates or grilles  

You are not allowed a metal security gate or grille unless your flat is on the ground floor in an open courtyard. The London Fire Brigade advises against security gates or grilles wherever possible.  

Metal security doors don’t catch fire but can stop your neighbours escaping if left open. If there is a fire in your flat and the door is locked, it's harder for the fire brigade to get in and help you.   

You are only allowed to fit a security gate or grille if you have permission from the Council. 

Contact us

Contact your neighbourhood housing officer if you:  

  • spot anything in your communal areas that could be dangerous  
  • have a question about fire safety or what you can keep in shared areas  

In an emergency, always call 999. 

Fire safety in communal areas policy 

For more information, read our full policy on managing fire safety in communal areas