Legionella’s disease, as defined online and in a previous blog post, is a form of atypical pneumonia caused by bacteria. The disease is potentially fatal and is something all Tenants and Landlords should be aware of, to ensure that the proper safety checks can be included within their property. This is especially prevalent after Covid-19 and lockdown where many properties have been left vacant.
Where do you find it?
The bacteria forms in standing water where the temperature is between 20 to 45 degrees Celsius and any scale or rust are present . This is not usually an issue in occupied properties as water is used regularly at different temperatures. It has also been reported that properties with combination boilers or electric showers are at even lower risk as no water is ever being stored and left to stand.
As written online the law is clear that if you are a Landlord and rent out a property you have legal responsibilities to ensure that the health and safety of tenants is adhered to by keeping the property safe and free from health hazards. This includes legionella's disease. L8 Approved Code of Practice is the legislation which provides the requirements and guidance of those in control of premises including Landlords.
A Landlord will need to ensure that they implement simple, proportionate and appropriate measures that make sure that the risk of legionella remains low. Especially if their property has been empty during Covid-19. To put it simply they need to ensure they have either kept water hot or cold away from the danger temperatures and ensure they keep it moving and don’t allow it to stand. It is recommended that during non-occupancy water outlets should be used once a week to maintain a degree of water flow and minimise the chance of stagnation.
Landlords should also make a tenant aware of anything they can do to avoid legionella’s disease whilst occupying the property. This can include regularly cleaning disinfected shower heads, not adjusting the water tank temperature and reporting any problem with the water system as soon as it is noticed.
In conclusion, legionella’s disease is something that is rare in occupied properties as water is consistently changing temperature and not being allowed to stand. However, a Landlord should always remember the legislation in place to protect tenants against the disease and ensure they fulfil their responsibilities. This is especially apparent after Covid-19 where many properties have been left unoccupied during the lockdown and time after.