Living in Flats

When you live in a flat, it’s important to show consideration for your neighbours. We want our tenants to enjoy living in their homes and to avoid conflict with the people around them. There are some key areas that can often lead to conflict and disagreement.

Communal Areas in Flats

In the interests of health and safety, Derby Homes operates a clear communal area policy to avoid the risk of people being hindered by objects in communal areas when evacuating in an emergency.

The communal areas in your block such as the stairs, stairwells, landings and corridors are a means of escape to safety for you and your neighbours if there is a fire.

The stairs, stairwells, landings and corridors are also a means by which fire and rescue services fight a fire and evacuate people to safety. It is therefore really important for you to keep these communal areas clear at all times.

Everyone living in your block is responsible for keeping the communal areas clear and you are not allowed to store or use the following in any communal area:

  • rubbish
  • furniture
  • prams/push chairs
  • plants
  • doormats
  • play equipment
  • mobility scooters
  • any other personal items

Derby Homes regularly inspects blocks of flats and any items found in the communal areas will be immediately removed and disposed of after we have notified you of our intention to do so.

In some blocks of flats, we employ cleaners to clean the communal areas every week or two weeks. This does not mean that you are not responsible for keeping the communal areas clean and tidy.

Please contact your Housing Office if you would like to know more. They can arrange to contact the rest of the tenants in your block and, if most of them agree, we can arrange a cleaning service. There will be a small additional charge on your rent to cover the cost.

Door Entry systems

We provide door entry systems on blocks of flats and maisonettes so that only genuine tenants and their visitors can get in. Please help to keep the flats safe and do not:

  • let someone you do not know into the building
  • let visitors into the building for your neighbour
  • ask your neighbours to let visitors in for you
  • wedge the door open and leave it open for any reason.

If you let strangers into the building, you will reduce the security for yourself and everyone else living in the block.

Mobility scooters and flats

We appreciate that some people need or want to use mobility scooters. However storing them or charging them up in the communal areas of flats is unacceptable because of health and safety issues.

If you live in a block of flats, you must identify agree a suitable location for storage and charging of a scooter with Derby Homes before you make a purchase. You will also be expected to produce a valid insurance certificate covering the use of the scooter.

If you wish to store and charge your mobility scooter in your own flat, we will inspect your home to ensure that you can still escape from your property quickly in an emergency.

As with other unauthorised items in communal areas, we may take action against you if you have not asked permission or store or charge your scooter in a communal area of your block.

Noise Nuisance in Flats

Nuisance caused by noise is the main area of conflict between neighbours living in flats. Playing music, listening to the radio and watching television are obvious sources of noise. Other sources of noise can include:

  • revving cars
  • slamming doors
  • shouting in the hallways and stairs, particularly at night
  • talking, hanging around or playing in communal areas.

A certain amount of noise is to be expected, but neighbours should not have to suffer from serious noise nuisance. In flats and maisonettes you may have neighbours above and below you as well as on either side – it is important to show consideration for all your neighbours. This is one reason why laminate flooring is not allowed in flats.

Tackling problems

If you have a problem with noise from your neighbours please talk to the person who is causing the noise. This is the best way of resolving problems and sometimes your neighbour may not realise their noise is bothering you.

Please speak to your Housing Office if this does not resolve the problem. They will be able to speak to your neighbour on your behalf and take steps to stop the nuisance. It may also be that an ASB Officer is allocated to deal with this in a more formal way if this is something that you would prefer.

Sometimes problems can be solved through mediation. This is particularly useful where there appears to be a clash of lifestyles or personalities.

Taking action

We can take legal action if this type of nuisance continues. In the most serious of cases we can serve a notice seeking possession advising the noisy tenant that Derby City Council/Derby Homes intends to go to court and ask for a court order to evict them from their home. Legal action, however, is Derby Homes’ very last resort but we will take action to stop serious nuisance when we have to.

Derby City Council’s Environmental Services Team also has powers to deal with noise if it is shown to be a ‘statutory nuisance’. They can serve abatement notices, which mean the neighbour must stop making the noise.

If someone ignores an abatement notice and continues to cause a noise nuisance, Environmental Services can take away equipment that is being used to make that noise – for example televisions, CD players or DIY equipment. They may also prosecute the person making the noise.