Can I stop other tenants from blocking up the communal hallway?

I own a first-floor Victorian conversion flat, in a building with five flats in total. It is often difficult to open the front door of the building because other tenants block it with buggies. It is very annoying — what can I do?
Question: I own a first-floor Victorian conversion flat, in a building with five flats in total. Two tenants have babies and are forever blocking the entrance hall with their buggies. Now one has had another baby, so there is an even larger buggy. It is often difficult to open the front door of the building.

The owners of the ground-floor flat also use the hall for storage not only of their buggy, but wellington boots shoes etc. It is very annoying — what can I do? Will the flat leases deal with this sort of thing? 

Answer: This situation certainly appears to be quite unacceptable. The entrance hall will be a common part of the building, providing access to the various flats. It should not be obstructed at any time, as that will cause inconvenience for residents and could be dangerous if there was a fire.

Look at your lease. There should be covenants in it saying that the common areas, access ways, staircases etc are not to be obstructed, and that the premises must not be used for any purpose which will cause nuisance to the other flat owners.

Your lease should also say you may require your landlord to take action to enforce covenants which the other lessees have entered into with him, provided you indemnify him for his costs and expenses. However, it is best to try to resolve matters amicably. Talk to the other lessees and explain you are worried because the buggies, wellies etc are not only a nuisance but may make it difficult to get out in case of fire, or restrict access for the fire brigade. If that fails, involve the landlord and/or any managing agents.

What's your problem? If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, please email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, London Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually but we will try to feature them here. Fiona McNulty is a partner in the residential property, farms and estates team at Withy King LLP (withyking.co.uk).

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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