Rubber Doormats Banned In Council Apartments In UK

by Gopalan on November 18, 2008 at 2:39 PM
Rubber Doormats Banned In Council Apartments In UK

Rubber doormats pose a safety hazard and hence should be removed forthwith, local authorities have told their tenants in Camden, Britain.

The authorities have even threatened to take residents to court - with the threat of eviction - if their demands aren't met.


Letters, signed by housing officer Elspeth White, were sent out after a council surveyor visited the flats.

Three residents in Revenge House, at The Anchorage, Gosport, Hants, have now been told to remove the rubber-backed mats.

They have been warned that people could trip on them, particularly if they needed to leave in an emergency.

The council house is a form of public or social housing in the United Kingdom. Council houses were built and operated by local councils to supply uncrowded, well built homes on secure tenancies at affordable (below market) rents to the local population. As of 2005, approximately 20 per cent of the country's housing stock is owned by local councils or by housing associations.

The Camden council says the health risk posed by the rubber doormats is of particular concern because the corridors in the building are narrow.

Resident Ingrid Buckland, 62, has removed her mat for fear of the council taking action.

She said: "'I just can't understand all the fuss over these mats - it seems so futile.

"It's just such a petty little thing and it has got out of hand. I don't know why the council is saying it might take action over a 99p door mat, it just seems so over the top.

"I should think the council would have bigger things to worry about than three door mats but I've moved mine because I don't want to cause any trouble, it's just not worth it."

Gosport Borough Council says if the mats aren't removed the tenants would be breaking the terms of their lease, which states no objects should be placed in communal areas.

Officers will be returning to the block later this month to check whether the mats have gone.

But the head of the council's own housing board thinks it is over the top.

Cllr Keith Gill said: "I would be very opposed to any kind of legal action taking place over this. I think that would be heavy handed.

"This is really sending out the wrong message and there are more important things that the council should be worrying about."

Tom Mullarkey, chief executive of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, was also against the mat ban.

He said: "The application of common sense and balance is much more reasonable than the seeking of mindless increments towards absolute safety."

Other council tenants in the borough could be sent letters in the coming months if their mats are deemed to be dangerous, Daily Mail reported.

But the council has not enforced a blanket ban, saying it would assess each mat on an individual basis.

Council spokeswoman Brenda Brooker said: "We, as a local authority and landlord, have a duty of care to all persons entering our communal areas.

"These should be free from any hazards or obstructions, likely to cause health and safety issues or prevent evacuation of persons in a fire situation.

"We would consider the health and safety risk that the particular problem presents and then would consider appropriate action, possibly involving legal action."

Source: Medindia
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