If you are an owner of a rental property in the UK, then the law mandates that you regularly check the place to ensure that it is free from any chances of Legionella infection. Any violation of the rules from your side that puts the tenant at serious health risk will be seen as punishable by the law. Below, we look at five things you must know about Legionella infection at your property, and how the law will be applicable to you.
Factors for Legionella
One major factor that promotes the growth of Legionella is the water temperature. The bacteria is said to be actively breeding when water gets between 20 and 45 degrees centigrade. Legionella can also be transferred through sprays and mists. And if the water contains sludge and rust, then that can act as a nutrient for the bacteria to thrive.
In the case of gas, landlords can take a Gas Safety certificate to show the safety of operation. However, there are no such certifications available to show that water from any particular source is free from Legionella. Instead, landowners are expected to maintain a written record of risk assessment that details all the things that you have done to ensure that the bacteria does not end up harming the tenants.
Legionella Risk Assessment
Things like water showers, tanks etc. have to be thoroughly checked to ensure that these items are functioning optimally. As such, just evaluate the risk of using them, and then note down the controls that need to be established to overcome those risks. Make sure to review your assessment once done, and do necessary changes if required. You will have now completed recording the Legionella risk assessment. Just remember to put your name and job title on the record. In addition, you must ensure that the assessment records the full details of all tests that you have carried out, including the date.
The landlord is also obligated by law to inform their tenants about all the measures that have been implemented to control Legionella bacteria levels in water. This can include suggestions like cleaning the showers everyday, properly adjusting the temperature of the calorifier, and so on. For example, when the tenant uses the shower, there might be a real risk of inhaling the bacteria. To avoid such risks, the tenant must be clearly advised to clean and disinfect the shower heads every time when using them. Or better still, you can set up instantaneous electric showers in the bathroom which are fed with cold water, but only heat it when in operation.
What if the homes are vacant? Then the landlord is liable for taking proper care of the water systems in the place to ensure that no amount of water is left stagnated long enough that there is a risk of developing Legionella. As such, make sure that the water system is flushed out at least once per week. This should be sufficient to reduce the possibility of water stagnation.
And if you wish to know how to test the water sources on your property for Legionella, visit https://www.aquacert.co.uk/other-types-of-property/landlords, and go through the products listed on the webpage.