Most tenants and residents got a letter through their door dated 15-04-2011. I've got one, but I can't honestly say that's when I got it. Anyway, it was about "Items left being stored on the communal walkway and landings and disposal of rubbish".
It was a rubbish letter about rubbish. It wasn't bullet-pointed so even half-educated folk like me couldn't read it properly. On further analysis the first two paragraphs are about not leaving 'washing machines, chest of draws bikes etc' on the balcony (fire risk) and paragraphs 3-5 are all about putting your rubbish in the chutes or bin chamber and not leaving it outside your door or in communal areas. All good reminders to some mindless folk, but who the hell's gonna read this?
The letter then quoted the rules n' regulations of our Tenancy Agreement, a note about not smoking in communal areas, and a number to call to dispose of 'washing machines ovens and fridges' (Environcall on 020 314 7171). Those seven paragraphs could've gone at the end after the sign off as Extra Important Info...
And then there was the threat: "If residents do not remove the items stored in the communal areas in 14 days (underlined in bold) from the date of this letter or continue to dispose of their rubbish in the correct manner Tenancy Enforcement action may be taking [sic] against you" Yours sincerely Caretaking Services.
Well two weeks passed a week ago. Did they mean '14 working days excluding bank holidays'?...
We got news earlier that Frankham House were "Gestapoed" yesterday. We await a full report, but we heard Frankham residents had their balconies completely cleared, including plants and beloved items that the postman usually navigates successfully...
The last so called "Agent Orange clearance" was a polite affair and stuff wasn't removed without resident's approval. They did it over three pre-announced lunch periods over three days, eg, Finch/Congers/Frankham may be next, possibly Monday, and Holden/Wilshaw/Browne/Castell/Cremer the next day. The notable thing about their last 'sweep' was that they had no idea how many flats were included in their last 'block' and didn't get round to half of them. Mainly they did it when people were out so approval was unavailable. There seems to be an assumption that council house residents are in all day.
However, this is 'Caretaking Services' so expect some inconsistencies and historically, you can expect complete ineptitude (no reflection on the shop floor). The letter had no signature, no contact name and no reference number.
Let us know if you didn't get the letter of 15th April 2011. And meanwhile do a spring clean of your balcony, but don't get rid of stuff you want there like plants or a bike you have to store (where else are you going to put it?). If the postman can reach your neighbour without tripping up, how can it be a health and safety hazard? If you're creating an eyesore for your neighbours though, clear it up, for Pete's sake.
We've heard that a few people didn't receive the letter referred to above. But Leaseholders should've received a letter "Re: Fire Safety" in April that came with Home magazine and posted directly to their address. The letter was signed by the Head of Leasehold Services. Among other things the letter states:
To minimise fire risk in your property please ensure that you:
Do not store anything on balconies that could easily catch fire
Do not overload electrical sockets
Install smoke detectors and test them regularly
To minimise fire risk in the communal areas of the building please ensure that you:
Keep communal areas clear
Do not wedge open fire doors in corridors
Never leave refuse sacks, bicycles, children's buggies, plant pots, washing or other obstructions in communal corridors or walkways
Keep all exits from your home clear so people can get out easily if there is a fire.
However, these rules appear to be directed towards blocks where communal corridors and walkways are internal. Ours are not.