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Experts urge landlords to guard against disease

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last updated: 26 May 2016 report a problem

experts urge landlords to guard against disease

Landlords are being urged to protect tenants from Legionnaires’ disease and not fall foul of the law in a new campaign which says the potentially lethal disease is present at dangerous levels in millions of houses.

Safety experts at LTM Compliance, based at Cotes Heath, have launched a campaign to alert private landlords and lettings agents about their legal duty to protect tenants against Legionnaires’ disease.

They say the need for action is made all the more urgent by tests that indicate the Legionella bacteria, which causes the disease, is present in dangerous levels in one in every 16 privately-rented homes in the UK.

The situation is even more urgent because the Health and Safety Executive has further clarified rules requiring landlords and managing agents to show they have assessed and controlled the risk of the potentially deadly disease in their rented homes. LTM Compliance is part of the AquaB Group, which offers the only national risk assessment and certification service that complies with code’s requirements for the domestic property market.

Judith Richardson, LTM Compliance director, says: “Tests carried out by the AquaB Group in recent months show that more than six per cent of rented properties – that is more than one in 16 rented homes – tested positive for dangerous levels of Legionella.

“In an area like North Staffordshire, that means thousands of people are likely to be living in properties where there is a significant risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease.

“We are in the process of contacting letting and managing agents in Staffordshire to make sure they are aware of this legislation and have been giving advice on how to carry out this new risk assessment in a cost-effective way.

“Our main concern is to provide advice on this amended approved code of practice, so managing agents and landlords can understand their obligations and help protect their tenants.”

Landlords who fail to follow the HSE code of practice and are found to be responsible for allowing a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak face fines of up to £20,000 and up to five years in prison, plus the threat of civil litigation.

LTM Compliance offers a five-year risk assessment service, which includes property surveys, water sample tests, recommendations on remedial work or any process changes and the issuing of a risk assessment which is compliant to the Approved Code or Practice.

Rory Mack Associates, the Newcastle-based chartered surveyors and property agents, recommends the service to landlords because it offers peace of mind as well as legal compliance.

Kirsty Thorley, property management coordinator at Rory Mack Associates, says: “We have taken a proactive approach on this matter. All our managed properties have been risk assessed and no Legionella was found. Remedial action was recommended for just one property.

“We are completely transparent and honest with our tenants. We will present them with the Legionnaires’ risk assessment, just as we do with the property’s gas safety certificate.”

Source: Stoke Sentinel

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