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CatherineM

Inter war estates communal balconies

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I have lived on top 4th floor, no lift in these red brick flats. I have had flower pots along my balcony for 27 year. I share my side of the balcony with 1 fit young woman. Last year a commercial cafe’s smoke chimney caught on fire and the fire brigade came. After they came to each flat and asked about fire safety and fitted me a new smoke alarm and I asked if they could go passed my door easily and they said yes no problem. They said they were fine. Today the estate officer came and told me to remove them and I explained what the fireman said and also that my councillor had given me permission some years ago. They are also insisting that the bars that have been fitted by a number of older people to feel safer must also be removed. This seems very unfair and I know that we were told to leave the building last year by the firemen but have no idea about any block procedure from lambeth council.

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I am afraid if the Responsible Person (RP) considers you plant pots as a tripping hazard and they are in the common area he/she has the right to ask you to remove them. If you refuse you could be committing an offence under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (RR(FS)O) but it would be unlikely the enforcing authority would take you to court, also if there was a fire and things went pear shaped you could find yourself being asked some awkward questions.  

As for the bars if they are inside the flats they are subject to the Housing Act and not the RR(FS)O and the RP has no control, other than goodwill advice, unless they affect other tenants of the flats.

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