1.1. This policy is concerned with the effective management of the shared communal areas around Thrive Homes properties to ensure our properties are safe, attractive and well-maintained places to live. Communal areas include gardens surrounding a block, entrance halls, staircases and any bin and storage areas, that Thrive is responsible for.
1.2. It explains our approach to managing the communal areas; how we will involve residents in managing and improving our blocks and how we will work in partnership with other agencies concerned with the safety, security and appearance of the communal areas
1.3. This includes the planning, monitoring, management and delivery of services relating to where Thrive has a responsibility or is responsible for:
- gardens, open spaces and grassed areas
- communal pathways, roadways and parking areas.
- communal bin stores and drying areas
- playgrounds and other communal facilities
- communal entrance doorways and windows
- communal stairs, hallways, passages and lifts
- communal services to flats e.g. lighting, fire alarm systems, TV aerials, CCTV equipment etc.
2.1. Thrive Homes recognises that there is a clear relationship between the quality of our properties and residents’ overall quality of life.
2.2. Our vision for Thrive Homes Communal areas is that they are safe and well looked after areas where our residents want to live.
2.3. This policy aims to:
- set out a pro-active approach to identify issues in communal areas
- ensure the grounds and communal facilities we own and manage are well maintained
3. Policy Statement
3.1. While Thrive Homes aims to deliver high quality communal services, having the support and co-operation of residents is critical to our success. Many environmental problems such as the dumping of rubbish, fly tipping, dog fouling, graffiti and broken door entry systems are costly to tackle and yet are often caused by a minority of customers and / or their visitor
3.2. To maintain communal standards, we need the involvement and support of customers to act responsibly. Residents pay for services through their rent or service charge, so where we believe that a residents’ actions are the cause of problems we will try to identify the perpetrators and may take tenancy enforcement action against them. This may include charging them for the costs we have incurred to clear up problems or possession action to end their tenancy. We will also work with other agencies where it is appropriate to do so.
3.3. It is only through proactive management, firm tenancy enforcement action and planned preventative measures that we can maintain high standards. Where environmental ASB is blighting our properties, we will work with customers and other agencies and interested parties to identify and plan preventative measures to tackle the root causes
3.4. We expect customers to keep their gardens tidy, report communal repairs quickly and not to do anything that would adversely affect the environment that everyone shares and wants to enjoy. In return we will:
- conduct regular communal area inspections and ensure gardens are well maintained, tidy and free from graffiti.
- work closely with local Police and other services to help keep our properties free from anti-social behaviour, harassment and hate crime.
- inspect blocks of flats regularly to ensure that they are clean and well maintained and kept clear of rubbish.
- conduct fire risk assessments in blocks of flats to identify and address fire risks.
- regularly check and maintain shared facilities such as door entry systems, lifts and fire alarms to make sure they are safe and fit for purpose
- let empty homes quickly to help maintain the appearance of the area.
- identify improvements and investment needs with customers to ensure our properties meet our communal standards.3.5. Flat Block Inspections
3.5.1. Regular inspections of Thrive owned buildings and gardens is the main way we can ensure that Thrive properties are being looked after and to identify problems that need to be addressed.
3.5.2. The frequency of the inspections will be determined on an individual basis and assessed on a range of factors, such as:
- anti-social behaviour
- the level of complaints and reported repairs
- the extent and condition of communal facilities, including any reports of damage.
- Issues highlighted following fire risk assessments
- poorly kept gardens
- type of properties including number of stories
- historical issues or any exceptional events such as storm damage or heavy snow.
3.5.3. All property with communal areas or facilities will be inspected no less than four times a year. Where necessary this can be as frequent as every 4 weeks where serious persistent issues are identified that are compromising the safety of residents, and/or the appearance of the estate.
3.5.4. Areas where Thrive Homes own no communal land or facilities will not have regular inspections but may still be inspected for management purposes.
3.5.5. Our Communal Area Standards will ensure that we are consistent in our standards of assessment. Where a property is assessed as not good enough, we will take a planned approach with specific actions for improvement to ensure that any additional services or facilities are costed, planned and monitored.
3.6 Communal Services
3.6.1. Thrive Homes will provide a range of services either directly or through contractors. Services will differ from property to property depending on local factors.
3.7. Refuse and Recycling
3.7.1. We will work closely with local authorities to ensure that properties have the appropriate facilities for disposing of rubbish and recycling.
3.7.2. We will act, wherever possible, against those found to be dumping rubbish or fly tipping on our property, including recharging them for the costs and providing evidence to support prosecution.
3.8. Vehicles and Parking
3.8.1 Where customers do not have designated parking, any issues should be raised by the customer with the local authority.
3.8.2. Only where Thrive owns the land, we will work with customers and external agencies to reduce irresponsible parking, and abandoned vehicles and resolve access problems for emergency and service vehicles.
3.8.3. We may appoint a reputable company to operate a parking scheme, or parking maintenance, in our properties to ensure the effective management/control of parking spaces, facilities, gates or barriers.
3.8.4. We will work with the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to identify owners of suspected abandoned vehicles and arrange for the vehicle to be removed, stored and disposed of if the owner does not respond after giving the required notice. Where the owner is identified we may charge the costs for the removal, storage and disposal of the vehicle.
3.9. Playground Equipment
3.9.1. Where Thrive Homes owns play equipment, we will ensure that it is safe to use, properly inspected and fit for purpose. We will undertake regular
inspections of play equipment and assess whether the playground equipment is safe and structurally sound.
3.10. Property or Garden Improvements
3.10.1. Estate improvements are planned works to the communal areas of properties intended to enhance the local environment. Before deciding about spending budgets on communal improvements we will work with customers that live in the building to consider their priorities.
3.10.2. Where any proposed improvements would result in an additional service charge, we will consult with all leaseholders and customers before any works are carried out which will cost any individual resident or leaseholder more than £250. This includes planned maintenance programmes and enhancements such as new flooring, painting, new or additional lighting.
3.11. Other Agencies Responsibilities
3.11.1. Where issues are identified or reported on our properties that are not the responsibility of Thrive Homes they will be noted, and customers will be advised to report the issue directly to the relevant organisation. For example, to the Police, Environmental Health or the local authority highways agency.
3.12 Land Transfers
3.12.1. Thrive Homes will consider the transfer of land from communal to private or vice versa where it will improve the area or make it easier to manage. Each case will
be considered on its merits. Before such a transfer can take place, a full appraisal will take place and appropriate consultation carried out with those to be affected by the transfer. If Thrive land is sold, any disposal will be in accordance with Thrives financial regulations.
3.13 Motorised Wheelchairs & Ride on Scooters
3.13.1. Thrive Homes recognises that many people now use powered vehicles to assist with mobility needs. The storage of these vehicles must be within the home or in a designated area approved by Thrive Homes such as a secure store. Thrive Homes will not permit the storage of such vehicles to compromise the means of escape from blocks of flats or put customers at risk on health and safety grounds. Charging or storage of vehicles in the lobbies or corridors of flats is not allowed.
3.13.2. Where permission is granted, the customer must agree and comply with all conditions placed upon the storage and use of the vehicle. Thrive Homes reserves the right to withdraw permission at any time should the conditions fail to be adhered to.
3.13.3. Tenants can apply for a hardstanding / charging point in accordance with our Aids and Adaptations policy. The need for the work must be supported by a relevant health professional that would normally be an occupational therapist.
3.13.4. It should be noted that it is often not practicable to provide such adaptations for customers in flats.
3.13.5. We will consider requests for adaptations to communal areas to assist those with mobility provided the costs are proportionate. Such requests are dealt with in accordance with the Aids and Adaptations policy.
3.14 Storage of Items in Communal Areas
3.14.1. Communal areas are to be kept completely clear at all times. Our Communal Area Standard set out our expectations on the use of communal spaces. This has been shared with all Tenants
4 Associated Policies and Regulatory and Legal Considerations
|Regulatory and Legal considerations||Related Policies|
|Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005||Anti-social behaviour Policy|
|Environmental Protection Act 1990||Aids and Adaptations Policy|
|Refuse Disposal (Amenity) Act 1978|
|The Removal, Storage and Disposal of Vehicles (Prescribed Sums and Charges) Regulations 2008|
|Law of Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977|
|Public Health Act 1936.|
|The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005|
|The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003;|
|The ASB Crime and Policing Act 2014|
|Consumer Standard: Neighbourhood and Community|
|Equality & Diversity Act 2010|
5.1 Thrive Homes will review the Neighbourhood Management Policy in 2024, unless there are any regulatory changes requiring us to consider this earlier.