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Flower Potty

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Asking for advice. My 80-year old mum has lived in a block of flats since1985. Following an initiative by the housing association in the 80’s to create a more wholesome and pretty atmosphere, my mum placed a number of flower pots onthe corridor outside her flat. This has been her hobby and past time for the last 3 decades and next door neighbours tell her how pretty the flowers are and how it cheers them up as they walk past. 

This week, all the tenants received a letter saying that they all have 14 days to remove everything from the communal areas - plants, ornaments and even door mats! Tort Notice stickers were placed on all items in question. Now this is obviously causing my mum distress and anxiety as she will lose her hobby, not forgetting the considerable amount of money spent on the flowers and plants. The Housing Association is citing fire and safety regulations as the reason but my mum doesn’t understand how this has not been an issue in the past 33 years but suddenly it is. Is she in a position to fight this instruction? Thanks for your advice, help and opinions.

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The law changed in 2006 which meant that landlords are now obliged to bring in safety measures in the communal parts of their buildings (flats). OK, this is 12 years ago and if your mum's pots were a risk, one could argue they should have been removed before now.

Some landlords didn't do a great deal to comply and where they did, a great deal of common sense was applied. Now post-Grenfell, the mood has changed and there seems to be a zero tolerance approach to 'flexibility' by risk assessors and enforcers alike. I have to say, often the approach is adopted to protect individual's backsides rather than to control the risk of fire to residents which is not what was intended when the law was written

I cannot comment on the plants - perhaps you could supply a photo??- but door mat removal does appear way over the top

I worked on a project to compile risk assessment reports for hundreds of LA flats in west London where we allowed mats and some ornaments if they were not causing an obstruction or adding excessively to the fire load in corridors. But as I say, it seems common sense - by that I means applying risk based decisions rather than knee jerk reactions - maybe a thing of the past.

I fear the plants may well be history, but I would ask what guidance the landlord is using for removing door mats. That does seem a bit excessive and jobsworthish!!

Good luck

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