Fire safety in communal areas


If you live in a block of flats or a similar shared building, Sovereign is responsible for the communal areas (unless these are looked after by a management company instead) and we have a duty to make sure that you have a clear escape route in an emergency. This means that we have to be strict about what is left outside of your home. 

For blocks which we’re responsible for, the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 requires us to carry out a risk assessment which considers escape routes including communal areas and stairways. 

Our policy is that you must not use the communal areas to store any possessions, to dump unwanted goods or for decorative items outside your front door. This includes bicycles, pushchairs, mobility scooters, wheelchairs, e-bikes and e-scooters.

The law around risk requires us to make sure that, if there was a fire in your block, there would be nothing blocking your escape route - or which could give off smoke or fumes that would affect you or hinder the Fire Service in their rescue duties. 

As a resident, this means you have no right to store or display anything in the communal areas and any items which are left here will be removed without further notice if necessary.  There may be a charge for the removal of any items. 

If you are unable to evacuate your home in the event of a fire - due to either a permanent or temporary disability, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can carry out a ‘Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan’ (PEEP) with you.

Get fire smart

Read the information or watch the video below about how to reduce the risk of a fire starting or spreading in communal areas.

  • Keep corridors and exits clear, so there is nothing blocking your escape route.
  • Keep doors closed - especially fire doors.  They have special strips that expand and hold a fire back for longer.
  • Know your exits and make an escape plan.
  • Join in with any fire drills or other exercises.
  • Check your smoke alarms regularly.
  • Know the fire safety arrangements for your building.

Our short film with Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service shows why leaving items in a corridor can be a fire risk, and how much difference a closed fire door makes when it comes to stopping fire from spreading.

If you would like to see subtitles for the video, please click on the CC button at the bottom of the video.  

Read a transcript of the 'keeping corridors clear' video Opens in new window.


Learn more about helping to prevent the most common ways fires begin in homes Opens in new window.