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Agents and landlords warning over Legionnaires' Disease

Letting agents and landlords are being warned that properties under their control meet regulations to prevent an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease.

The warning, from the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors, follows a report from Public Health England on the death of three men from the disease.

The three contracted Legionnaires’ from a badly maintained hot tub on display at a garden centre in 2012, which had not been filtered or cleaned for weeks. Stagnant water in the tub led to the growth of the bacteria and when switched on for display, the Legionnaires’ particles became airborne and spread around the garden centre. 

Some 21 other people were also found to have caught the bug from the same outbreak.

Legionnaires’ Disease is a potentially fatal lung infection caused by the bacteria legionella. This is commonly found in any freshwater areas but can sometimes find its way into artificial water supplies. The hot tub case has highlighted that any water supply not properly maintained, filtered or cleaned can prove fatal – even without direct contact.

In addition its not only obvious buildings such as hotels and hospitals that fall under legionella control.  All hot and cold water systems within any property that has a commercial use or open to public access must be assessed for risk of legionella including residential properties that are let. 

The latest monthly figures released by Public Health England show that there were 31 reported cases of the disease in February 2015 across England and Wales, although five of these may be from travel abroad.

  • Emma  Mitchell

    Yes, making rental properties as safe as possible is of utmost importance. The more information that is disseminated, the more knowledgeable landlords and letting agents will become. Which will lead to fewer tragic incidents like the above.

  • Kenny Sahota

    Yes, Emma, good to see precautions being taken. I would imagine the risk of Legionnaires’ Disease is fairly low, but as we've seen in the tragic cases above complacency and carelessness can lead to very serious and devastating circumstances. To prevent something like this ever happening again, we need to ensure landlords are made more aware of the potential dangers that could be hidden in their rental property.

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