Millbank Estate Management Organisation
PROCEDURE FOR DEALING WITH ITEMS LEFT IN COMMUNAL AREAS
This policy has been developed to manage the problem of items being stored or left in communal areas by residents, (e.g. bicycles, plants, prams, footwear, any other items.
For the purpose of this policy, the Term “goods” is defined as possessions or personal property which hold any value. These goods could be left in communal areas for storage internally within the block, or externally in the courtyard area.
2. AIMS & OBJECTIVES
To ensure that residents enjoy a safe, clean and tidy environment
To ensure we comply with recommendations made in our Fire Risk Assessments
To ensure that goods removed are documented and there is a process of collecting them or disposing of them.
To abide by relevant legislation
To ensure residents are aware of their responsibilities
3. POLICY STATEMENT
Bulk items in communal areas are a health and safety hazard and pose a serious fire risk. MEMO has a duty to keep communal areas in a safe condition and to remove any goods to prevent a fire risk.
Residents will be served with a Tort notice if their goods are removed from a prohibited area to allow for collection.
A record will be kept to ensure that correspondence is sent out to the resident 7 days before the goods are disposed of. All goods will be photographed and accurate records kept throughout.
4. LEGISLATION, REGULATION & GUIDANCE
Residents’ possessions are protected by the Torts [Interference with Goods] Act 1977. This Act governs the sale and disposal of goods, particularly abandoned goods. Serving a Tort notice gives a resident a period of time in which to remove the goods themselves.
Bulk items in communal areas are also a health and safety hazard and pose a serious fire risk. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires MEMO to assess the risk of fire within all its properties, and take adequate precautions to reduce the risk. The Housing Act 2004 places a duty on landlords to carry out thorough risk assessments, including fire risk assessments.
The Torts [Interference with Goods] Act 1977 also covers the removal and disposal of goods which have been abandoned (usually in empty properties). This means that ISHA can serve a Tort notice to a previous occupant of a now empty property to remove any goods that have been left behind.
The above legislative documents are available on a website delivered by the National Archives: www.legislation.gov.uk
5. RESIDENTS’ RESPONSIBILITIES
Residents must accept responsibility for their goods in accordance with their Tenancy Agreement, Lease or Licence Agreement.
To keep any communal areas such as entrances, stairways, corridors and landings clean, tidy and free from obstruction. You should not leave any personal belongings or rubbish in these areas. If we have to remove anything in these areas we may charge you with the cost of this work.
6. KEEPING COMMUNAL AREAS CLEAR
MEMO has a legal duty to ensure that all fire escapes and fire routes are kept clear at all times. It is therefore important that communal areas are kept free from any obstruction or fire risk; these areas include stairs, corridors, hallways, stairwells and shared facilities. A fire risk could include obstruction from a number of items, e.g. bicycles, prams and unwanted furniture or household goods, blocking a fire exit or escape route. Where we find, items left in the communal area, we should write using letter in appendix one. If items are not removed, we should serve a tort notice and arrange for items to be stored. If residents remove items but they reappear later, we should serve a tort notice.
7. PHOTOGRAPHS & RECORD KEEPING
We regularly write to residents to remind them not to leave items in communal areas. Information should also be displayed on the notice board in the entrance. Prior to removing any goods, the member of staff will take photographs and detailed record of all goods to be removed. MEMO will prepare and maintain a full inventory to record the date, time, location of the items and an estimated value. Information will be given to the resident to inform them of where the goods are stored, and how long they have to collect them.
Removed items will be stored at the MEMO office yard. The Tort notice will inform residents where the goods are being stored and the duration of storage and how they can be collected. Residents must pay removal/storage costs to reclaim their items.
9. COLLECTION OF GOODS FROM STORAGE
Residents will need to provide identification and evidence of ownership when they attend to collect the items from storage (including presenting the original Tort notice served). The Tort notice will detail what a resident should do if they wish to recover their goods from the storage facility.
10. COSTS FOR REMOVAL/STORAGE
A Fixed fee of £20 for removal of the item. £10 per day storage charge.
11. DISPOSING OF GOODS
If a resident fails to collect the goods within the allocated time frame, MEMO will dispose of the goods. Records will be kept for the disposal of the items.,
Under the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Human Rights Act 1998, all personal and sensitive organisational information, however received, is treated as confidential. This includes:
anything of a personal nature that is not a matter of public record about a resident, client, applicant, staff or committee member
sensitive organisational information.
Officers will ensure that they only involve other agencies and share information with the consent of the resident concerned, unless:
MEMO is required to by law the information is necessary for the protection of children
HEALTH & SAFETY
This policy will be carried out in compliance with the relevant statutory health and safety requirements and regulations.