Bikes in the hallway: is there anything I can do about neighbours storing bikes in the corridor of our block of flats?

Question: I am getting on a bit in years and I live in a first-floor flat. However, the few stairs I have to climb are not a big problem.

What is a nuisance is that the owners of the flat downstairs leave their bikes in the corridor, which makes it very difficult for me to get through the hallway, especially when I am carrying shopping.

Is there anything I can do without any drama? I like living here and I don’t want to move.

Answer: The first step is to check the terms of your lease. In most residential leases it is common to see a provision that prevents leaving obstacles in the common parts of the building so as to cause an obstruction. 

In the absence of such a clause, there may be a provision in the lease that prohibits causing nuisance or annoyance to any other tenant in the building.

If either of these provisions are in your lease, then it is likely that they are also present in your neighbour’s lease.

You should then approach the landlord or managing agent and request that they enforce the relevant provision against the owner of the downstairs flat.

If you do so, the landlord or managing agent may request that you pay the costs of enforcement.

The issue you complain of also raises potential fire safety and insurance considerations and this should be made clear to the landlord, who has responsibilities in this regard. 

In the meantime, it would be worth trying to open a friendly dialogue with the downstairs neighbours and requesting that their bicycles are stored elsewhere, in order to avoid obstructing the corridor and, indeed, to guard against any damage to their bikes.

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.

If you have a question for Piers King, email or write to Legal Solutions, Homes & Property, Evening Standard, 2 Derry Street, W8 5EE.

Questions cannot be answered individually, but we will try to feature them here.

Piers King is a solicitor in the property department of Streathers Solicitors LLP.

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