Safety and Communal Living Guidance for Residents of Flats

Please find below some guidance we’d like to share with you to reduce common problems we find reported by flat owners. If you’ve got any additions to this list, we’d love to hear them.


Internal Water Leaks

Please check your property regularly for signs of leaks either from your installations or into your flat. Shower screens are advised for any in-bath showers to reduce splashing. Toilets with concealed cisterns should be opened regularly and inspected for leaks. Things to look out for are sponginess in the bathroom floor, damp smells in the room, defective silicone. The insurance excess is payable by the leaseholder responsible for the leak. If you have not reported a leak in a timely fashion, you may be responsible for the excess damage to your property. Insurers are tightening up on these liability issues. If you let your property, please ensure your agent is doing a thorough regular inspection.

Electrical Safety – wiring

The block/freeholder/rtm is only responsible for the communal area fire safety. Every leaseholder is currently responsible for the situation in their own flat. Here are some things to consider:
If you are a landlord, you are hopefully aware by now that as of 1st April all rented properties must have passed an electrical safety check (EICR). In light of the fire problems in this building, please ensure you have done this. There is no legal requirement for owner occupied flats to do the same but it would be advisable to do so anyway. We can arrange these for you if you need a hand, send us an email.

Useful link: Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector

Electrical Safety – portable appliances
The fire at Grenfell Tower was started by a faulty fridge. When did you last have your portable appliances tested ? If you let your property with a fridge, washing machine, microwave etc or have any plugged in wall heaters they should be checked annually. This is called a PAT test and is also a legal requirement for landlords and really should be for everyone in a block of flats in our view.

Useful link: PAT testing explained

Smoke Alarms
All flats should have a smoke alarm, ideally a mains operated battery back up one. Please check the dates on the batteries of your smoke alarm and use the self-test function. If you are a landlord, it is your legal responsibility to ensure your tenants have smoke alarms. You or your agent should be checking them at the property visit and every change of tenant.

Fire Doors
The door from your flat to the communal area, and the doors in the flats between the rooms are fire doors. They should have smoke seals with no gaps, the closers should still be in operation and they should have been repaired in line with original construction. Please check they are in good condition and let us know if you would like someone to survey it. The doors within the communal area are being done as part of the S20 but you need to make sure your own doors are safe.

What to do in the event of a fire?
Please read the Fire Action Notices in your block, it may save your life one day. If they are not clear or conflicting please tell us. If in doubt, get out, close the door and call the fire brigade.

How to dispose of bulk rubbish?
Please do not put it in the communal bin areas. The council will not just clear bulk waste from flats. You should phone your local council who will arrange a collection. If we have to clear it on your behalf, it will be much more expensive.

Communal Area Safety
Please do not store anything in the communal areas of flats. These are supposed to be firesafe areas. If there is a fire and it is dark and smoky, you or a neighbour might not be able to get past an object such as a bike or a pram. It is particularly dangerous to put items that may catch fire in there such as old fridges, paints, motorbikes but that is not to say nonflammable items are ok. Communal areas must be kept clear. Please do not let people into the building you don’t know. If there is a buzzer system, and a tradesperson rings your bell and you are not expecting someone do not let them in. The person who they are coming to see should let them in. Don’t allow people you don’t know to tailgate you into the building. If people are up to no good getting through the communal door makes it much easier for them to break into a flat.

If you see a suspicious person in the building phone the police.

Reporting Problems
It is really important that you report problems to us as soon as you can – if you notice a gutter leaking, someone blocking the communal area, the carpet wearing away and so on please send us an email or phone and we will deal with it. We inspect blocks usually every few months at least but we need your help keeping an eye on new problems as they arise. Similarly if you don’t think the cleaner or gardener etc is doing what they are supposed to do please let us know.

What’s the Portal?
You can access it or reset your password from the home page at If you have not yet been set up, email us and we will send you an invite. Any payments in the last 10 days may not yet be shown on the system but if you’d like to double check if we’ve got a recent payment, please email us. You can see your balance, invoices paid for the block, copies of accounts and insurance documents as they become available.

How to reach us?
Email us at [email protected] or phone 01702 445 600.

What to do in an emergency?
Please don’t just email urgent matters. We can’t see every email as it comes in. If something happens out of hours and needs emergency attention such as a leak or break in to communal door please phone 01702 445 600 and listen to the out of hours message and follow the instructions. In the day time also phone the office. If its non-urgent, please send us an email and the appropriate person will get back to you as soon as they are able which might not be immediately.

Covid Safety
If you have symptoms and are isolating this means not going in the communal areas also. When leaving your flat you should wear a mask. Please disinfect your own door handle regularly. If you see people congregating in convention of current covid guidelines, you should notify the police.

Noise Nuisance in Flats
Nuisance caused by noise is the main area of conflict between neighbours living in flats. Playing music, listening to the radio and watching television are obvious sources of noise. Other sources of noise can include: A certain amount of noise is to be expected, but neighbours should not have to suffer from serious noise nuisance. In flats and maisonettes you may have neighbours above and below you as well as on either side – it is important to show consideration for all your neighbours. This is one reason why laminate flooring is not usually allowed in flats. If you have a problem with noise from your neighbour, your first step is usually to talk to them to try and resolve it amicably. If this is not possible, please let us know. However, we have limited powers so you may also have to call the police.

We can serve a legal notice on the owner of a property for causing a nuisance but this is a slow, expensive procedure and a last resort.