Landlords alerted over Legionnaires

RESIDENTIAL property landlords and managing agents have been urged to check flats and houses for Legionnaires’ disease risks.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is directing landlords, or their managing agents, to comply with a recently revised code of practice.

Adrian Mason who owns the Belvoir Luton office in Marsh Road, said: “There is now a need to check and inspect properties which may have a water supply with temperatures between 20C and 45C since plumbing systems need to run at 60C to kill off the bacteria.

“Particular attention should be paid to water storage and header tanks, thermostatic mixing valves and to the potential for any build-up of debris, such as sludge, in a system. A risk is also posed if water could become stagnant in an under used area of the property - for example taps, showers or washing machine pipes.”

Whilst the chance of legionella occurring in residential properties is minimal, the HSE says research shows it can be found in smaller domestic systems – hence the need for new legislation.

Legionella are bacteria common in artificial water systems. People can catch the disease if they inhale into their lungs tiny water or vapour droplets carrying the bacteria.

Mr Mason added: “Different properties will require differing approaches – for example a new build property with a combi-boiler will present far less risk than a Victorian terrace with an old water system.”

“Our main concern is to provide advice on this new Approved Code of Practice, so landlords can understand their obligations and help protect the safety of their tenant, in particular those who may be elderly or vulnerable.”