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Legionella - what landlords should know

 

Property landlords have a responsibility to ensure homes are safe for tenants. Nearly all the things on the checklist are widely known and understood – but have you thought about the risk of Legionella?

The chances of catching Legionella are pretty low but there is a greater risk in properties which have remained empty for a while – it is certainly something to be aware of and a subject we feel is worthy of bringing to your attention.

In general, keeping cold water cold, hot water hot and water circulating regularly prevents the Legionella bug from developing. The problems are more likely to arise when a house has been unoccupied for some months between tenancies.

It is in these cases that it’s important to carry out checks to ensure Legionella isn’t lurking in the property. Installing electric showers and combi boilers will limit the risk because they are in the main cold-water fed and only heat small amounts of water, meaning water doesn’t stay in the system for any length of time – lessening the likelihood of the bacteria forming.

The shower is probably the most likely breeding ground for Legionella and many landlords find it prudent to remove the shower head and hose and disinfect them for a few hours ensuring they are safe before reassembling.

Other steps to consider are removing pipes which are no longer needed, prevent any debris from getting into the water system and ensuring water is kept at the proper temperatures. Flushing out the system before a new tenant moves in is another way of making sure there is nothing harmful in the water.

Make sure your hot water temperature is above 50 degrees and the cold water is below 20. If either temperature falls short of this yardstick you may need to call in a plumber.

Carrying out the appropriate checks are simple enough but if you don’t feel confident of doing it yourself there are people who can do it for you, giving the peace of mind of knowing you have done the right thing and the property is safe.

Always remember it is your responsibility to ensure safety in all aspects before someone moves in. Making these simple checks could safeguard the health of your tenant and prevent a potentially life-threatening situation.

For more advice about lettings and property management in Telford, give the Nock Deighton team a call on 01952 290 163 or visit www.nockdeighton.co.uk

 

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