Legionnaires’ disease: your responsibility as a landlord

As a landlord, you’ll probably be aware of the obvious risks to tenant safety – gas, fire and electricity but there is another killer present in the home that you, as a landlord, are responsible for. Legionnaires’ disease is caused by the legionella bacteria, which can be found in domestic water systems, such as taps, showers and air conditioning units. The bacteria can cause a fatal lung infection that is transmitted into the human body by the inhalation of small, airborne water droplets.

As a landlord, you are required to ensure any Legionnaire’s risk has been identified by way of a professional assessment, ideally carried out by a specialist contractor. Failure to do so could result in a penalty of up to £20,000. It’s a little known landlord responsibility that can have dire consequences if not taken seriously. To give you an illustration of how deadly Legionnaires ’ disease can be, a badly maintained hot tub operating as part of a display in a garden centre caused the death of three men and infected 21 others. The hot tub had not been cleaned or filtered for weeks, and the Legionnaires’ particles became airborne and spread around the garden centre.

Let’s relate this back to lettings. Legionnaires’ can prove a particular risk between tenancies, during void periods and if tenants go on extended holidays, when the water system isn’t in daily use. Stagnant water provides the perfect breeding ground for the bacteria, with water sitting in tanks and pipes posing a real risk.

Jones Robinson always wants to help landlords meet their legal obligations so we’ve set out to help on the matter of Legionnaires. Astonishingly, most of the ‘landlord packages’ offered by leading companies and engineers doesn’t include a Legionnaires’ risk assessment, so we set about creating our own comprehensive landlord protection plan that would cover all bases.

We have worked closely with local company BMG and it’s trained staff to offer a ‘one stop shop’ landlords’ protection package that includes a Legionnaires risk assessment as well as a gas boiler service and safety check, a carbon monoxide check, a smoke alarm check and a PAT electrical test. The complete package is just £198, inclusive of VAT – a small price to pay for the ultimate peace of mind. Our research shows there is also a substantial cost saving to be made from having one contractor carry out all the necessary rental property safety checks rather than inviting in separate companies.

Of course, repair, replacement and rectification works highlighted in any assessment fall outside of the protection plan and should be paid for by the landlord in addition to the £198.

If you’d like to know more about the Jones Robinson Landlords’ Protection Plan, and for advice about how to keep your tenants safe, contact our lettings department today.

 

Jones Robinson | 16/06/15 10:48AM


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