A local authority has apologised to a Black Country woman who was wrongly told to remove two ornamental gnomes from outside her home on health and safety grounds.
Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council said a letter sent to Linda Langford, which also instructed her to withdraw a pottery tortoise from a communal area outside her flat in Tipton, had been based on a misunderstanding of its fire safety rules.
The note from Sandwell Homes to Mrs Langford, 57, ordered her to take down a welcome plaque as well as the gnomes - one of which is hitting an anvil, the other reading a book.
Sandwell's housing chief, Councillor Mahboob Hussain, has now admitted that tenants in low-rise council flats should not face a blanket ban on ornaments in communal areas.
Mr Hussain, the borough's cabinet member for neighbourhoods and housing, said: "A Sandwell Homes officer visited Mrs Langford to discuss items in communal areas because we were reviewing our fire regulations in flats.
"Mrs Langford wasn't in and the officer left a note, which incorrectly asked Mrs Langford to remove the items from outside her flat.
"Sandwell Homes had slightly misinterpreted the policy on items in communal areas."
The councillor said the authority's aim was to use common sense in identifying fire hazards and to treat each case on its merits.
"Our policy is that as long as there is not an excessive number of gnomes or similar items in communal areas, and as long as there isn't a problem with these items being damaged through anti-social behaviour, they can stay," Mr Hussain explained.