A couple with twins are double trouble

Our lawyer Fiona McNulty advises what can be done if neighbours within an apartment block are blocking communal areas
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Question: We live in a newish block of 10 flats. The freeholder employs managing agents who used to do a good job but seem to be overlooking a recent problem.

A couple with twin baby boys have moved into one of the groundfloor flats and keep leaving the huge buggy in the hallway and two baby car seats that partly block access to the stairs and lift. They also leave smelly bags of nappies outside their front door instead of using the bin store. There are elderly residents in the building who could fall over these muddles in the hall. What can be done?

Answer: Speak to the couple and explain to them the hazard they are causing, especially for elderly people who live in the block. If they fail to stop you must speak to the managing agents and ask them to deal with the couple.

The flats will be leasehold and the 10 flats in the building should all have similar leases with similar covenants. There should be covenants that prevent the communal areas such as the hallways, access ways, stairs, lift etc from being blocked or obstructed. The lease is also likely to provide that refuse should be stored in the communal bin store.

The couple will be breaching covenants contained in their lease and so you are entitled to ask the managing agents to require them to cease behaving in this manner.

As a last resort the managing agents /freeholder can be asked to enforce the covenants but your lease may require you to indemnify the freeholder in respect of the freeholder's costs relating to enforcing the covenants.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the residential real estate team at Thring LLP (www.thrings.com).

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

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