Staying safe in your flat

Staying safe in your flat

This page will give you some handy hints and tips to keep you safe and well in your home if you live in a flat.

Safety in communal areas of your flat

As your housing provider, it is our responsibility to ensure that the communal areas in your flat are clear of obstructions. If there is a fire in your building, it is important that:

  • You can easily leave the building, as quickly as possible
  • The emergency services can enter the property promptly in their rescue missions
  • There is nothing in the communal area that could easily combust

To make your communal areas as safe as possible, we ask that you do not store, or leave any belongings in these areas.

If you leave items in the communal area, we reserve the right to remove anything that we deem to be a potential obstruction or hazard such as shopping trolleys or mattresses.

If you have or you are thinking about purchasing a mobility aid please ensure you have somewhere to store them. Our Supported Team may be able to provide a hardstanding and charging point for mobility scooters. You can contact them here.

What should not be stored in a communal cupboard

Items that are not allowed to be stored in a communal area, including meter cupboards and electrical cupboard, are those which prevent immediate access in order to isolate services in an emergency, being able to safely escape or items which can easily be caught alight, such as:

  • Rubbish, including recycling
  • Pushchairs
  • Bikes
  • Shopping trolleys
  • Ladders
  • Decorating equipment
  • Furniture
  • Motorbikes or other motorized items
  • Barbecues, fuel containers and gas bottles

Fire Doors

Did you know, a fire door will:

  • Stop a fire inside a flat from spreading to the communal parts and preventing you from escaping via the corridor or staircase
  • Stop a fire in the communal areas of a block of flats spreading into a flat, where you may be sheltering until the fire service arrives
  • Provide you with security

All flat doors which open into a communal escape route must be fire-resistant and self-closing. Please note it is important that these fire doors are not left open or the closing mechanism disabled. Failure to comply could invalidate any property, contents, or any other insurance policy you have in place.


These can also present a high level of risk. If you have a balcony, any items in this location must be fireproof. Barbecues, fuel containers and gas bottles are prohibited, the use of these items on balconies is also prohibited.

You must report any damage to a balcony to our repairs team on 0300 3300 900 options 2, 1 and 1.


  • 90 people die each year because the battery in their smoke alarm was flat or missing
  • Over half of home fires are caused by cooking accidents
  • More than five fires a day start by unattended candles
  • Every three days someone dies from a fire caused by a cigarette
  • A fire can start from the crumbs in your toaster

Smoke and heat alarms in your flat

Smoke alarms are the easiest way to keep you and your family safe in case of a fire.

  • Make checking your smoke alarm part of your regular household routine
  • Test it by pressing the button until the alarm sounds. If it doesn’t sound, you need to replace the battery
  • If your smoke alarm starts to beep on a regular basis, report this to our repairs team and we will arrange to replace your detector
  • Do you have a ten-year alarm? Our contractors will look to replace these for you at the end of the ten-year period

We will test smoke alarms in communal areas regularly.

It is also important to note we have a combination of hard-wired and battery-operated smoke alarms in operation in our properties. If you are unsure of which one is in your home, please contact us.

How you can take extra care when you are cooking

  • When the cooker is on, don’t leave children alone in the kitchen and stay alert
  • Keep tea towels, cloths, and any other materials away from the cooker
  • Make sure when you finish in the kitchen, all the appliances are off

How you can avoid a fire in your home

  1. Keep electricals away from water
  2. Don’t put anything metal in the microwave
  3. Don’t overload a plug socket
  4. Unplug any appliances, this helps reduce the risk of fire
  5. Keep candles away from soft furnishings
  6. Don’t use faulty electrical devices, e.g. items with damaged casing or loose & exposed wiring
  7. If there is a fire, know your escape route
  8. Keep tea towels away from cookers and toasters

Inspections and servicing in your home

We take electrical safety seriously and carry out regular inspections on all our properties.

Faulty electrical systems and appliances are a common cause of fires in the home. As a result, we will visit you periodically to make sure your electrical items are safe. Our inspections test the wiring, the appliance itself and the fittings.

Problems may include overheating sockets, fuses popping, circuit breakers tripping or the smell of burning. If you’re worried, turn off your electricity supply and contact our repairs team on 0300 3300 900 immediately.

Asbestos surveys

Materials containing asbestos were used in building supplies until the year 2000. These materials are completely safe as long as you do not damage or disturb them.

To ensure you, our team and our contractors remain safe, we are required by law to carry out asbestos surveys in all our properties. These inspections provide information on the location and condition of asbestos, and are carried out by the in-house surveying team.

We carry out routine re-inspections every 5 years, however, some properties do require an annual inspection.

It is important to note you MUST complete a permission for alterations request if you wish to make ANY alterations to your home. This allows us to survey your property to make sure you are not going to disturb any asbestos.

If you do notice any damage or deterioration to your property, please call us on 0300 3300 900 so we can make arrangements to have a survey completed.

Worried about mould and condensation?

In the British climate, it is unlikely for any home to be totally free of condensation. But there are small steps you can take:

  • Close kitchen and bathroom doors when these rooms are in use, even if they are fitted with an extractor fan. This prevents water vapour escaping. You should also open a window after you’ve been cooking, washing up, bathing or drying clothes
  • Put washing outdoors to dry where possible. If you must dry clothes indoors, put them in the bathroom with the door closed and the window open or extractor fan on. Choose a condensing tumble dryer and make sure you vent it to the outside of your home
  • In cold weather, try to leave some background heating on all day, even when you are out. Never use a paraffin or flue-less bottled gas heater for this purpose

10 Reasons to have contents insurance

  • You can apply over the telephone or complete a simple application form
  • There is no excess, meaning you don’t pay the first part of the claim
  • Theft, water damage, fire and many more household risks are covered
  • It covers tenant improvements
  • Contents in sheds, outbuildings and garages are covered
  • Damage to external glazing for which you are responsible is covered
  • It covers lock changes if your keys are lost or stolen
  • You don’t need to have a special door or window locks
  • All postcodes are included
  • It offers flexible payment options

Click here to find out more about Contents Insurance.

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