As a landlord, are you legionellosis ready?

Because if you’re not, you better read on.

I know, there’s been yet another major political upheaval and nearly every other blog I’ve read in the last few days has been filled with commentary about it. Which is why I thought I’d write about something completely different today. And let’s face it, I can’t exactly bring you news about what this new government means for landlords yet!

So, although it may be a fascinating time, whatever your viewpoint, don’t let it take your attention away from some important landlord responsibilities.

So what is Legionellosis?

landlord responsibilities Legionellosis is a collective term for diseases caused by legionella bacteria including the most serious and the one you’ve probably heard of, legionnaires’ disease.

 

The two things that Legionella bacteria need to grow and reproduce are:

  • a water temperature of 20-45C (68-113F)
  • impurities in the water that the bacteria can use for food – such as rust, algae and limescale.

Although relatively rare, Legionnaires’ disease can form in contaminated showers, hot and cold water systems, sprinkler systems and spas.

You catch it by inhaling small droplets of water (aerosols) containing the bacteria. It usually takes six to seven days between getting the infection and the start of symptoms, although it can be anytime from two to 19 days.

How serious is it?

You probably remember frightening headlines about seriously ill patients, when there’s been previous outbreaks in the UK. Although 90% of those infected do recover, it’s a very serious lung infection, particularly in people with pre-existing health conditions. And it can lead to other life-threatening conditions.

Why should landlords care?

building inspectorUnfortunately, landlords often overlook the importance and necessity of putting safeguards in place against Legionellosis.

As a landlord providing residential accommodation you are responsible for ensuring that the risk of exposure to legionella in your premises is properly assessed and controlled.

All water systems require an assessment of the risk. You can do that yourself if you are competent to do so, or employ somebody who is.  In most residential situations, a simple assessment may show that the risks are low and no further action may be necessary.

However, even if that is the case, it’s still important to review the assessment regularly (in case anything changes in the system) and manage the water systems appropriately.

Empty properties, holiday homes and second homes

It’s also important not to let water go stagnant, particularly in periods when the property is empty. This makes empty holiday homes vulnerable, especially in the summer. To manage this, there are a number of options you can consider such as a flushing regime or draining the system if it is to remain vacant for long periods of time. The important point is to be aware, because you will be responsible if you haven’t taken appropriate measures.

To manage this, there are a number of options you can consider such as a flushing regime or draining the system if the property is to remain vacant for long periods of time. The important point is to be aware – because you will be responsible if you haven’t taken appropriate measures.

Help, I need to do an assessment

If you need an assessment carried out because you haven’t done one recently, give me a call. There are a number of specialists who I can put you in touch with to assist. And add it to your list of important assessments that needs to be regularly carried out.

In the meantime, I’ll get back to trying to work out what the recent election result is going to mean for landlords and property owners. Although let’s face it, that could take some time!

Graham Faulkner is Branch Director of EweMove Dorking

www.ewemove.com/dorkingHe’s bought and sold a lot of properties over the years and is also a portfolio landlord, as well as specialising in helping other landlords. Apart from his own experience and expertise, he can also recommend the right professionals, as tried and tested by him, to advise you.

Multi award winning EweMove in Dorking is a residential property sales and lettings agency who pride themselves on being refreshingly different and standing out from the crowd. EweMove Dorking covers from Ockley to Oxshott.

Enquiries to 01306 406 506 / 01372 701 702, or via email to dorking@ewemove.com

 

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