Forum: Residents should have some leeway to place items outside front door

I refer to Mr Martin Frois' letter and accompanying photo (Common space treated as own backyard, Dec 3).

For as long as Housing Board flats have existed, their occupants have been using the space in front of their door to place personal belongings.

I do not see anything wrong with this practice as long as these items are kept neat (as shown in Mr Frois' photo) and are not smelly, noisy, dangerous or flammable, and a safe passageway is kept clear for people to use in case of emergencies.

In cities where real estate is very expensive, people should be allowed some leeway and flexibility to place some personal items outside their front door.

For the longest time, residents of flats and condominiums have learnt "to live and let live" and show forbearance to neighbours who have hobbies or needs.

Any changes to the rules governing common spaces should be carefully considered as they will affect not only millions of HDB dwellers but, by extension, also people living in high-rise strata estates.

I have even heard of overzealous condo management staff forbidding shoe cabinets to be placed outside the door even though the passageway was not blocked.

For hygiene reasons, items such as shoe cabinets, incense burners, potted plants, laundry and perhaps even a quiet bird in a cage should be allowed to be placed outside the flat instead of indoors.

Life would be very grim indeed if the majority of us had to live by bluntly enforced rigid rules on common spaces when, over many decades of the HDB's existence, residents have been able to accommodate one another's needs.

Leslie C.C. Lim

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