Just when letting agents and landlords thought the dust had settled with regards to tenancy regulation, the UK government has issued new legislation to combat the threat of Legionnaires Disease within residential property. Whilst the disease had largely gone unnoticed in recent years there is now a very real concern amongst some that we may see growing numbers of people suffering from this potentially life threatening disease. This had not caused particular concern for most landlords until earlier in 2013 when the minimum cut-off rate for the sizes of water systems triggering regulation had significantly reduced and meant that all residential property now falls under regulation.
So what is Legionnaires Disease? Put simply it is a pneumonia like illness caused by the Legionella bacteria that can be found within water systems where temperatures provide the ideal background for it’s growth. People contract the disease by breathing in tiny droplets of water suspended in the air containing the bacteria.
Landlords are now strongly advised to have their properties checked thoroughly to ensure they are not putting tenants at risk. Landlords can be prosecuted for not having taken reasonable steps to protect life even if the tenants have not become ill. At worst, any landlord who experiences a tenant death via Legionnaires Disease and is proven to be negligent in their responsibilities can now be imprisoned.
In order to protect themselves, landlords should employ a ‘competent person’ to carry out a Legionnaires Disease’ Risk Assessment to ascertain if indeed works need to be carried to render a property safe. There are a growing band of suppliers in the market offering this service helping landlords ensure they meet the new regulations. The firms offer to regularly test and monitor water systems so as to render properties safe.
As letting agents in Nottingham we are working hard to help protect both our landlords and tenants. To find out more about the responsibilities that both landlords and letting agents now face please visit the Health & Safety Executive website here http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/
Should you have property let in Nottingham please feel free to call one of our team on 0115 981 9651 to see how we could help put you in touch with approved firms for testing and monitoring for Legionannaires Disease.