Mat ‘farce’ confusion for tenants

Robert Leighton with the mat outside his flat. (d01111110)
Robert Leighton with the mat outside his flat. (d01111110)

Kirklees has been carpeted for putting mats outside people’s flats – then ordering them to remove them because they’re a fire hazard.

Robert Leighton, of Albion Court, Heckmondwike, said Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing (KNH) put down doormats in the block of flats in July.

Kirklees Council then wrote to people saying they had breached tenancy agreements by putting mats outside their doors in the communal area.

Mr Leighton contacted the council, saying KNH had put them there, and received an apology – but nobody has been to take them away, leaving tenants confused and upset.

He said: “The mats are breaking fire regulations – you are not supposed to have anything in communal areas. Kirklees said if we don’t get rid of the mats they might charge us for taking them away. But if we do get rid of them we might get in trouble for destroying council property. We don’t know what to do.”

Mr Leighton said an elderly woman who lived in the block of flats was in tears when she received the letter from Kirklees.

He said: “I am the only one who got a letter of apology. It is a lot of nonsense.

“It has been a farce from the word go.”

A KNH spokeswoman said; “We are very sorry if the letters about removing door mats from Albion Court have caused upset or confusion. However, we hope tenants understand that we need to do what we can to keep everyone safe.

“Blocks of flats like Albion Court are subject to fire safety regulations, and to protect the safety of all tenants, we require communal areas to be kept completely clear of anything that could pose a fire or trip hazard – including door mats outside flats.

“A safety inspection at Albion Court found several such mats, so we wrote to tenants asking them to remove them. KNH has provided fire-retardant non-slip mats at the main entrance to the block so that people can still wipe their feet, and tenants are still able to have mats inside their homes if they so wish.

“We are looking into whether the mats we provided for communal entrances have ended up outside individual flats and will be in touch with tenants to clarify the matter.”