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Old 06.06.2021, 01:27
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Neighbours storing items in communal hallways

Hi,

We live in a building that has three apartments and our neighbours directly below us are a nice younger couple who often babysit our plants whilst we are back in the UK.

We've just returned back to Switzerland and find that they are now storing a bicycle on the staircase and their shoes (about five pairs) outside their apartment door. The shoes aren't neatly stored close to the door and are just left wherever they fall.

I want to be a good neighbour and not cause any conflict but the communal hallway is only about one metre wide and it's starting to get a bit of a pain when we are trying to carry our weekly shop back to our apartment. Also the lease clearly states nobody is allowed to store anything outside their apartments.

Like i said, i don't want to be 'THAT NEIGHBOUR' but i also don't want all these clutter on the way to my apartment nor do i want to block the fire escape route from our apartment.

Has anybody else had issues with this and if so, what did you do?
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Old 06.06.2021, 01:52
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Re: Neighbours storing items in communal hallways

Talk to them. Just be nice and tell them about your concerns. If you really
Quote:
don't want to be 'THAT NEIGHBOUR'
, then make it not about the rules, but rather about how it would be great to have this space well organized and eye-pleasing. Something like "Are you guys all right?" - "...Yes, why?" - "Ah, it's nothing, I just saw your shoes in disarray, so was worried, if there was some kind of emergency", but do your best and be genuinely silly and worried, not at all patronizing.

Also it never hurts to ask, why would they have to begin using it to store a bike. Your building, as per your description, doesn't have a dedicated room for bicycles, so they may had to get it in temporary during the rain and simply "forgot" to keep it outside since - bad habits stick easily.
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Old 06.06.2021, 12:25
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Re: Neighbours storing items in communal hallways

Yes, best approach is to speak with the neighbours directly. Tell them you're really glad that people in the building get along, and that you're grateful that they babysit your plants when you're away. Ask them if there's a reason they've started putting the bicylce there. I'd go with the bicycle, first, and then see how the converstation goes before mentioning the shoes. Explain why and when it is in your way and say you'd be really glad if they could please move it. Ideally, find out, beforehand, where bicycles are supposed to be parked, so you can show them if they don't know.

You might find some of the similar-but-different discussion on this thread useful:
https://www.englishforum.ch/daily-li...-building.html
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Old 06.06.2021, 12:57
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Re: Neighbours storing items in communal hallways

first contact the neighbours, if that fails, contact your landlord.
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Old 06.06.2021, 13:11
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Re: Neighbours storing items in communal hallways

It's illegal to do so.

Tom
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Old 06.06.2021, 13:43
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Re: Neighbours storing items in communal hallways

In all honesty, I think what I would do is neatly arrange their shoes (out of the way of your walking path), just to give them the hint. Maybe also put the bike out of the way, if possible. That would at least hopefully drop the hint that their stuff is in someone's way. People can be so oblivious sometimes.

We have a bit of problem in our building with people using our bike room as a place to dump stuff that they are apparently too lazy to put in their storage units or don't have the space for in there. A few months ago, someone in our building had stacked up a bunch of stuff in the bike room, including about 20 small jewelry-type boxes that had fallen all over the floor, making it difficult to get my bike out. I waited about a week, and it still wasn't cleaned up, so I finally wrote a note and left it on top of the boxes. The note said (in German) "This is a bike storage room. Not a garbage dump." The next time I went down there, the boxes were cleaned up and the note was gone.
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Old 06.06.2021, 15:42
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Re: Neighbours storing items in communal hallways

"Maybe also put the bike out of the way, if possible. That would at least hopefully drop the hint that their stuff is in someone's way. People can be so oblivious sometimes"

That's the problem - there is no other place to put the bike so it is actually on the staircase itself (which is only about a metre wide). We have to physically squeeze past it each time we go in and out.
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Old 06.06.2021, 15:47
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Re: Neighbours storing items in communal hallways

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"Maybe also put the bike out of the way, if possible. That would at least hopefully drop the hint that their stuff is in someone's way. People can be so oblivious sometimes"

That's the problem - there is no other place to put the bike so it is actually on the staircase itself (which is only about a metre wide). We have to physically squeeze past it each time we go in and out.
Well, then. I would take the bike and put it outside. They should be bringing their bike into their apartment rather than leaving it in the hallway to inconvenience their neighbors. Maybe you should leave a note on it that says "Does this bike not fit in your apartment?"
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Old 06.06.2021, 16:06
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Re: Neighbours storing items in communal hallways

As you seem to be able to speak to your neighbours (presumably there's a common language as you've arranged with them to plant-sit in the past) why don't you simply ask them to move the bike?
Explain that it's blocking the stairwell and that you struggle to get past, and (if necessary) point out that it's A} a fire hazard in case of evacuation, B} against house rules.

Personally I'd worry less about the shoes, just push them with your foot into a corner of the doorway if they've spread beyond the width of a doormat from the neighbours' door.

If speaking to them doesn't work then have a quick word with the concierge/caretaker who's presumably also being inconvenienced as these things are in their way when they're cleaning the stairs.
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Old 06.06.2021, 16:23
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Re: Neighbours storing items in communal hallways

tbh the bike sounds beyond acceptable if it's become a fire risk, ask them to store it elsewhere.

Complaining about the shoes not being lined up would probably move focus away from the reasonable bike complaint. If you risk stepping on them, I'd move them out of the way with the foot when you go by, maybe they'll get the hint, before mentioning it.
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Old 06.06.2021, 17:15
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Re: Neighbours storing items in communal hallways

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That's the problem - there is no other place to put the bike so it is actually on the staircase itself (which is only about a metre wide). We have to physically squeeze past it each time we go in and out.
Some buildings have designated bicycle spots that are not immediately obvious because they're not right in front of the door. There could be a bicycle shed on the other side of the road, or a "Veloraum" further up the road, or an area in an underground parking garage, or in a car-park. It's worth asking your caretaker where you should put your own bicycle, were you to have one. Or check to see whether the house rules specify this.

If there really, really isn't anywhere set aside for free in the common areas, or that can be rented, then bicycles belong in the individual tenant's cellar, or on their balcony, or inside their flat.

Having said that, you might take a stroll around the building, or inside near the laundry-room or the entrances or hallways, to see if you could find a safe place for a bicycle stand or for hooks or racks on the walls. Sometimes, a landlord will be willing to install same, for the same of peace in the building.
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Old 06.06.2021, 21:19
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Re: Neighbours storing items in communal hallways

Well I'm only a volunteer fireman, not a pro.. But we train together and we practice running upstairs with all of our equipment, in the dark or smoke filled, pulling hoses up multiple stairs ..

So to me it's not ok leaving your junk in the hall .. Call it dramatic but if you're trapped in your apartment and we''re coming to help you and one of us falls over a bike, a shoe rack, boxes, junk. You've just lost vital time, caused another injury etc etc.. Imagine trying to get out in a smoke filled panic.

So to me it's just not ok .. the area should be clear.
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Old 07.06.2021, 15:45
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Re: Neighbours storing items in communal hallways

Many people deposits a couple pair of shoes outside their apartment, not sure if you can do much about that, though they shouldn't lie all over the place. A bicycle is a different thing altogether and to be removed. Have the owner designate a covered bicycle space (preferably inside the house) if there's none yet, team up with the other renters.
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Old 07.06.2021, 15:54
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Re: Neighbours storing items in communal hallways

another vote for:
  • fire hazard (can fuel fire)
  • escape hazard (can prevent escape or lead to injury)
  • rescue hazard (see two posts up)
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Old 07.06.2021, 16:25
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Re: Neighbours storing items in communal hallways

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Many people deposits a couple pair of shoes outside their apartment, not sure if you can do much about that, though they shouldn't lie all over the place. A bicycle is a different thing altogether and to be removed. Have the owner designate a covered bicycle space (preferably inside the house) if there's none yet, team up with the other renters.
I've seen worse. Items of furniture such as shelves or bookcases annoyingly eating into communal space, with a display of coloured vases. Kids sledges (in the summer) and a garden gnome with a little lantern who would emit cackles of laughter when you walked past. Three different baby prams (although there was only one child living there). The person responsible said the hallway with its white walls looked so bleak and boring and she wanted to make it look more homely.
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Old 08.06.2021, 16:43
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Re: Neighbours storing items in communal hallways

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Well I'm only a volunteer fireman, not a pro.. But we train together and we practice running upstairs with all of our equipment, in the dark or smoke filled, pulling hoses up multiple stairs ..

So to me it's not ok leaving your junk in the hall .. Call it dramatic but if you're trapped in your apartment and we''re coming to help you and one of us falls over a bike, a shoe rack, boxes, junk. You've just lost vital time, caused another injury etc etc.. Imagine trying to get out in a smoke filled panic.

So to me it's just not ok .. the area should be clear.
Same. The people one floor below me have one of those jogger prams outside the door and I wonder when they will twig that I keep turning it in such a way that it is slightly less in the way when I pass by.

I also don't want to be "that" neighbour but between their shoes and that damn pram, anyone in need of medical evacuation from the fourth floor up can only hope that the fire brigade will show up with the big hydraulic ladder to get them out.

I'm hoping it'll just be the one kid for them, I won't put up with it for a second round. If I see another sprog on the horizon, I'm going to turn into "that" neighbour but make it clear that I could have done so much earlier...
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Old 08.06.2021, 17:16
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Re: Neighbours storing items in communal hallways

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Talk to them. Just be nice and tell them about your concerns. If you really , then make it not about the rules, but rather about how it would be great to have this space well organized and eye-pleasing. Something like "Are you guys all right?" - "...Yes, why?" - "Ah, it's nothing, I just saw your shoes in disarray, so was worried, if there was some kind of emergency", but do your best and be genuinely silly and worried, not at all patronizing.
That is such a British approach. This tactic only works against other Britons. I loved playing ignorant in this type of situation, eg I would answer 'yes I am fine, thanks for your concern' and move on. Britons then stumble when someone does not respond appropriately to their hints. So funny.
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Old 08.06.2021, 17:32
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Re: Neighbours storing items in communal hallways

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Well I'm only a volunteer fireman, not a pro.. But we train together and we practice running upstairs with all of our equipment, in the dark or smoke filled, pulling hoses up multiple stairs ..

So to me it's not ok leaving your junk in the hall .. Call it dramatic but if you're trapped in your apartment and we''re coming to help you and one of us falls over a bike, a shoe rack, boxes, junk. You've just lost vital time, caused another injury etc etc.. Imagine trying to get out in a smoke filled panic.

So to me it's just not ok .. the area should be clear.
I heartily endorse this. My father died in a hotel fire when he was away on business. I would have no problem at all in politely but firmly explaining the reason behind the rule. It may be that the danger has simply never occurred to them.

Last edited by Klostersgirl; 08.06.2021 at 17:33. Reason: To remove a link that appeared ...?
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Old 08.06.2021, 17:38
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Re: Neighbours storing items in communal hallways

It's not always a solution to let the landlord know either, as I know of an example whereby someone firstly spoke to their neighbour about the problem (explaining the fire risk and need for the escape routes to be free from clutter), which didn't result in any change, so they went to their landlord, who informed them he already knew that they had spoken to the neighbour. He was enamoured with the neighbour concerned, so responded with anger that anyone would suggest the neighbour had to move stuff, said it was allowed, and said the other neighbours could all leave the building, if they had a problem with it.
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Old 08.06.2021, 17:48
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Re: Neighbours storing items in communal hallways

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That is such a British approach. This tactic only works against other Britons. I loved playing ignorant in this type of situation, eg I would answer 'yes I am fine, thanks for your concern' and move on. Britons then stumble when someone does not respond appropriately to their hints. So funny.
I'm British and I would never say, "I just saw your shoes in disarray, so was worried, if there was some kind of emergency".

I'd be a bit more direct but try and remain polite.

These problems don't just occur in rented accommodation though.

In a brand-new, entirely owner-owned flat complex, the bike room was full of old, broken bikes with flat, perished tyres that obviously hadn't been used for years, if not decades.

We used our bikes daily and it was always a struggle to maneuver around these relics - especially for our kids.

I did mention this and the response was, "I own this place too. I stopped renting so I wouldn't have to have these stupid rules!"
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