landlord and tenant law

Legionnaires disease prevention in rented accommodation

What is Legionnaires' Disease?

Legionnaires' Disease is a pneumonia like illness caused by the Legionella bacteria. It can be fatal and is caused by breathing in small droplets of water contaminated by the bacteria.

The disease cannot be passed from one person to another but can be particularly dangerous for people who have a pre-existing breathing disorder such as asthma and those with low immune systems.

Is my property at risk of contamination?

Legionella bacteria are found in the natural environment and may contaminate and grow in water systems, including domestic hot and cold water systems and shower heads.

Properties most at risk of displaying the bacteria are those that have been unoccupied for over 56 days, especially during the warmer months of the year.

The bacteria can thrive at temperatures between 20 - 45 "C if conditions are right, but tend to die off if temperatures rise to 60 "C or above.

Properties whose water systems have stagnated during summertime or other warmer periods will require action to be taken.

What should I do?

If you are a landlord or tenant you should be aware that the new legislation requires checks to be carried out on your rental property.

Landlords and agents are now required to conduct risk assessments on all properties. If they are judged to be at risk, the property's water system must receive a 'flushing treatment' by a competent person.

If the risk assessment shows the risks are insignificant and the control measures are being properly managed, then no further action would be necessary, but reviews should be done periodically in case anything changes.

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