Cookie Consent by
a bedroom with a motorbike, bed and desk in a room

Support & Wellbeing

Large items and obstructions in the Accommodation

By ConductTeam 08 Nov 2023

This article is part of a series on behaviour and communal living issues in residences. In this article, we’ll cover:

  • Why are some items classed as ‘obstructions’, and what does this mean?

  • What happens if you have items like this in the accommodation?

  • How to make your items safe, or remove them responsibly

So, what’s an ‘obstruction’? An obstruction could be any large item that’s been placed somewhere it poses a fire or health and safety risk. It’s a problem because it gets in the way, often obstructing a fire escape route, or affecting other people’s ability to use and navigate around the accommodation.

Common obstructions include things like this:

  • Bikes, boxes and washing airers left in corridors

  • Extra furniture like chairs, sofas and camp beds

  • Sports equipment left in the lounge

  • Stolen traffic cones and street signs

  • Pushchairs and children’s toys left outside family accommodation

  • Rubbish and cardboard piled up by the bins

These items aren’t explicitly banned in the accommodation, but if you have them, you have to make sure you use them safely.

As part of your residence contract, you agreed:

  • Not to bring into the accommodation any item that is dangerous, may cause a fire or safety risk, or may be an obstruction.

  • Not to leave any personal belongings in the communal areas or the grounds, which includes kitchen, lounges, corridors and landings.

  • Not to take part in any behaviour that's likely to cause injury, or impair safety, anywhere in the accommodation.

This means that if you do bring large objects inside, you’re breaching your contract, and this could mean you’re investigated for possible misconduct.

If items like this are found in your flat when staff come in to clean or fix maintenance issues, they’ll be reported. What happens next depends on the individual circumstances, and the specific items that are found.

Smaller or less dangerous items
If they're small items, and not in the way, you’ll usually be told to either move them somewhere safer, or completely remove them from the accommodation. You’ll be given a time period to do this in. If you don’t do it in time, they’ll be removed by staff, and you’ll be charged for their removal, and any other related costs.
Bigger or more dangerous items
If they’re bigger items, or positioned dangerously, or have sharp edges, they can’t be left where they’re found. They’ll often be removed as an urgent health and safety risk, and you’ll be charged all the costs of removing and storing them.
Banned items
If an item is specifically banned under the terms of your residence contract, staff will make a judgement about the level of risk it poses. They may need to take it away immediately, or they may give you a time period to rehome it yourself. If it has to be removed by staff, and you’ll be charged for its removal, and any other related costs.

Whatever the items are, when they're found, they’ll be reported. That report is sent to us at the ACS Conduct Team, and disciplinary action will follow. We’ll be considering the incident from several angles, which could include some or all of the following: theft; antisocial behaviour; misuse of the accommodation; endangering others; obstructing fire escape routes; and wasting staff time. 

If you have items like this in your accommodation, it’s only a matter of time until they’re found on a cleaning visit or a maintenance callout, so it’s a good idea to deal with them proactively. If you’ve already been found to have items like this, it’s important to move or dispose of them quickly, to remove the risk, and avoid making any charges or disciplinary action more serious.

Bikes can be stored in the dedicated storage sheds. Ask Customer Services for access if you need it.
Clothes airers
Clothes airers, for drying laundry, can usually be moved to an area of the lounge where they won’t get in anyone’s way. You may find you need to share one or two as a flat, rather than having one each.
Sports equipment
Sports equipment can be stored in your room, rather than the lounge. You might also consider whether you really need to have your own; some societies and sports clubs will let you rent larger equipment.
Pushchairs and children’s toys

Pushchairs and children’s toys should be stored inside your flat, in your own space. They can’t be left in communal areas or corridors, even outside.

Rubbish and cardboard
Rubbish and cardboard should be removed promptly to the outside bins and recycling areas, rather than letting them pile up inside your flat where they pose a fire and health and safety risk.
Stolen street furniture
Stolen street furniture, like traffic cones, can sometimes be returned to where you took them from (for more on this, see our article).
Stolen trolleys and shopping baskets
Stolen trolleys and shopping baskets can be taken back to the supermarket where you took them from.
Folding camp beds
If you have a camp bed, for occasional visitors, you need to be able to fold it completely flat and store it somewhere it’s not in the way.
Extra furniture you've purchased
Extra furniture you've bought yourself can be sold on various apps and websites (Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, etc), or given away for free online (Freecycle, Olio, etc). You can also donate to charities like Oxfam, BHF, Barnardos, Emmaus, and St Luke’s, who have furniture shops in Sheffield and will often collect saleable quality items locally. If your items aren’t fit for use, you may be able to pay the Council a small fee to collect them as outsize rubbish.

Hopefully this article has helped you to understand what obstructions are, what happens if you have them, and how you can make them safer, or remove them responsibly.

- ACS Student Conduct Team