You might have read in the news about some TVH customers’ christmas decorations being removed. I thought it would be worth explaining what happened, and what we plan to do next.
Following several serious fires of blocks of flats in Local Authorities in London, we looked at fire safety regulations and how we manage the common parts in our blocks of flats. Our Resident Auditors (a group of customers who are involved with inspecting and improving our services) inspected our service and approach, and they found inconsistency. Some blocks were completely clear, some had become a dumping ground for unwanted goods, and some were being used for storage. The Fire Safety Officer’s advice was that we should ensure that common areas were kept clear, in order to reduce both potential fuel that could feed a fire, and trip hazards that might impede people’s escape routes if it were very smokey.
We met with our Resident Auditors group and we agreed a Zero-Tolerance policy about leaving items in the common areas. This was well publicised in the customer newsletter, and through flyers and notices in all common areas. It states that items will be removed if they are left in common parts, and a £10 charge for the return of items, as a contribution to the cost of removal and storage of items removed.
Since the policy has been in place, we’ve removed a range of items – from abandoned carpets to broken cycles, and also some christmas decorations. This last one has clearly been controversial, and is one we need to revisit. We’re primarily interested in ensuring our customers’ safety in the case of a fire, but I can see that we may need to communicate more clearly especially around christmas time when it is natural that residents can expect that they can put up christmas decorations.
We’re sorry about the annoyance this has caused the residents affected. We’ll make sure that they’re not charged the £10 return fee if this was the case.