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Neighbours having to escape through our premises

Guest Andy C

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We have a joint fire door ( more a window ) connected by magna lock to the fire alarm, the window opens into our property and we are responsible for it's maintenance. Our neighbours use this escape route as a secondary route out of their building across the roof and then enter our building and through our store to exit to the street. We would lock this route after we finish at night ( half an hour after our neighbours ) however we have new neighbours who now work late into the night and say we must leave this door unlocked ( not padlocked ) so they can use the route after we have finished, issue is that if they use this route they will have access to all parts of our business causing us Security issues.

Q : Are we allowed to lock  (padlock) this door outside of our normal working day or must we leave it unlocked even when we are not there ?


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It should be unlocked at all material times, i.e. when it may be necessary to be used. If the use of a route is legally binding through an easement, deed of variation, license etc then you will have to honour this. Some of these agreements expire on change of occupancy or have a break clause, sometimes there is no agreement in place, in which case you could in theory give fair notice that they cannot use this route.

It's not a perfect route involving windows and ideally should be risk assessed out if possible, however in some older city centre areas found in places like London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool etc they are the only way of providing a secondary escape.  

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