When is a home not a home?

Another ‘elf ‘n’ safety’ story in the Daily Mail today in which they ‘confuse’ the communal area of sheltered accommodation with someone’s ‘home’: ‘‘Elf and safety jobsworths order OAP to take down portrait of Queen because ‘it could fall on a firefighter‘. In the first line the Mail claims that:

The Queen and Prince Charles have been banned from a pensioner’s home – on health and safety grounds.

Which the Mail knows is a lie because they acknowledge in the very next line that:

Royalty-lover Jean Thomas proudly hung a picture of the royals on the stairs landing outside her sheltered housing flat in Swansea.

The article and the pensioner keep repeating how meaningful and important this portrait is to her, which kind of begs the question as to why she chooses not to hang in it her flat. A spokesman made it perfectly clear why the portrait has been taken down:

‘Fire safety legislation requires landlords to ensure homes with communal areas and entrances are safe and well protected in the event of fire.

‘We have been working closely with the fire Service to keep entrances, exit and escape routes free of combustible materials and trip hazards or obstructions.

It is that simple. If you live in a block of flats you are not allowed to put stuff in the corridors / stairs / landings because these areas do not belong to you and are ordinarily the sole escape route for any resident. Landlords must ensure that these entrances / exits are safe and uncluttered, it makes sense and is a sensible thing to do. The Daily Mail is clearly not impressed with these ‘jobsworths’ but they know full well the kind of article they would write if anything happened in an old people’s home and the landlord was to blame in any way for ignoring fire regulations.

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