Brent tenants forced to remove their doormats in health and safety crackdown
PUBLISHED: 16:00 30 September 2012
Communal staircases and hallways in Brent Housing Partnership homes must be kept clear
A social landlord has been accused of heavy handedness after it demanded that tenants remove doormats from outside their homes and threatened to take them away if their orders were not followed.
Brent Housing Partnership, the arms-length management organisation in charge of housing for Brent Council, sent a letter to thousands of tenants in blocks of flats warning them about fire safety in communal areas.
The letter told residents that they must keep communal staircases and hallways clear and gave a series of examples of things which it considered dangerous – including doormats.
One resident, who contacted the Times but asked not to be identified, said: “I think it is really silly and is so over the top. In our stairwell my neighbour has a lovely plant which they have placed completely out of the way.
“It’s all part of our attempts to humanise the space in which we live, but we are being stopped from doing that.
“The worst came when I was told that we could not have doormats outside our homes. The letter told us that if we don’t move them, BHP would tell their contractors to take them away.
“I can understand large pieces of furniture or other things that could cause a problem in a fire evacuation, but it is health and safety gone mad when they tell us we can’t have doormats.”
BHP said the letter was sent to ‘several thousand’ tenants following a series of fires in tower blocks across London in the past few years. It added that doormats could cause people to slip when leaving the block in an emergency.
The ALMO also said that the wording of the letter was in line with the tenancy agreement – which tenants had signed and were legally obliged to follow.
A BHP spokesman said: “We take fire safety very seriously at BHP. We want to remind residents that all communal areas should be kept clear of obstructions and potential fire hazards for their own safety.”