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Photo of the communal outdoor area at Marwood Towers in Liverpool

Keeping communal areas and neighbourhoods safe

Torus is responsible for the communal areas in properties we own and we carry out regular inspections of communal areas in properties.

  • Regular inspections
  • Decorations

Updated: 27 November 2023

Why do we inspect communal areas?

We have a duty to reduce the risk of fire, to make sure tenants and residents can escape in an emergency and that fire and rescue services are not hindered in their duties.

What’s involved?

We will inspect the communal areas. Any fire safety actions will be identified, and action taken as soon as possible. If we find any hazards to people living and using the property these will be removed e.g. bikes, door mats.

We ensure any furniture we provide in communal areas is fire retardant. We ensure that any equipment that we provide in communal areas is serviced and well maintained

How often do we need to carry out the check?

This will depend on the building and the risks identified. Many schemes have notice boards showing when inspections take place, if you would like more information please speak to your Neighbourhood Officer or Scheme Manager (if relevant).

What do you need to do?

If you have any questions or safety concerns about communal areas, please report them to us as soon as possible.

  • Keep communal areas clear at all times - your communal areas should be a sterile (clear) environment, this means that you should not store any items in the area. This includes furniture, bikes, prams, scooters, ornaments, appliances, posters/frames, welcome mats, garden equipment, tools, toys or any other items. Such items can be fuel for a fire to start or in the event of a fire, items such as these may cause a trip hazard or prevent you from escaping safely.
  • Do not store any items within electrical cupboards within your communal, this poses a serious fire risk, doors to meters should be kept locked at all times, if you find your door damaged or open, please contact us immediately.
  • Do not remove or damage automatic closers on any doors to either your flat front door or a communal door, these devices ensure that the door closes properly in the event of a fire and could save your life, please report any damaged closers to Torus.
  • Do not wedge open doors, either flat entrance door, communal internal doors or entrance doors, these doors provide effective smoke protection in the event of a fire, and the main entrance door provides security to your block and your home.
  • Dispose of waste items properly, fly tipping causes both risk of fire and pests, help us to keep your block clean, tidy and safe – please report any incidents of fly tipping or ASB to Torus to enable us to support.
  • Do not smoke in communal areas, as they are all strictly no smoking, this includes the use of electronic cigarettes (vapes).
Photo of someone holding a full bag of rubbish in front of overflowing outdoor bins

Decorations: Decorating communal areas for celebrations and holidays

We want you to enjoy living in our homes, but we also want to keep you safe.

We are happy to for customers to decorate their homes at special times of year, such as Christmas, Easter, Halloween or even a special birthday or anniversary celebration, but it is important that you do this safely and show consideration for your neighbours.

Fairy lights, candles and decorations all have the potential to become fire hazards if proper care is not taken. To keep you and your neighbours safe, and in line with new legislation, decorations will be strictly limited in communal areas.

Please follow these handy checklists so your decorations are safe for everyone to enjoy.

Homes with communal rooms*:

If you live in one of our schemes or flat blocks, with communal room(s) - Extra Care, Sheltered Living, Supported Living schemes, Refuges, Hostels and Flats - then decorations in the shared/communal areas must follow these guidelines:

  • No real trees
  • Fire retardant trees and decorations
  • Decorations not to block exit routes/fire exits
  • No festoon type decorations hung from ceiling
  • Decoration not to be a trip hazard
  • Decoration do not cover H&S signage
  • Trees not to be located near fire/heat detection sensors
  • In communal area only protected by a fire door on the escape route, not in reception/lobby
  • No decoration on handrails e.g., tinsel wrapped around handrails.
  • No door decorations e.g., wreaths, door bows, webs, banners.

Flats with shared communal space*:

If you live in a flat block including high-rise and low rise blocks, where your front door opens into a shared internal corridor and you have shared space, such as corridors, lobby and landings (but no communal room), then decorations in the shared/communal areas must follow these guidelines:

  • Reception/entrance areas, corridors, lobby, landings are to be kept sterile (no decorations)
  • No trees in any shared areas – corridors, lobby, landings
  • No door decorations e.g., wreaths, door bows, webs, banners.
  • No decoration on handrails e.g., tinsel wrapped around handrails.

*These areas form an essential part of any fire fighting strategy for the attending Fire Crews in the event of a fire. Any unauthorised materials in these areas constitute a fire and tripping hazard to the attending Fire Officers who will use these areas to set up a bridgehead and to access affected areas to fight any fire and to carry out any rescues.

Find out more Christmas safety tips here

Your Neighbourhood

Torus staff will regularly inspect your neighbourhood and report concerns or maintenance required.

Why do we do this?

We want to keep your neighbourhood safe and well repaired, but we need your help to do this.

What do you need to do?

  • Report any safety or potential environmental issues such as fly-tipping, broken street lighting, slip and trip hazards, unsafe trees to Torus or your Local Council.
  • Know what your maintenance responsibilities are in your property e.g. trimming tree and shrub branches in your garden.
  • Dispose of rubbish carefully and properly.
  • Store your bins securely to prevent attraction of vermin and reduce fire risks.
  • Be aware of and follow your responsibilities in your Tenancy Agreement if you keep a pet.  Report any dangerous or out of control animals to the Local Council. Find out more on the pets in the home page.


Your Local Council will be able to provide information and advice on bin collections, vermin infestations, environmental crime.

Torus can advise on their maintenance schedules and provide information on landlord and tenant responsibilities. Please check your Tenancy Agreement for more information.

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