31st July 2015
A Leeds specialist in home safety checks is warning landlords and letting agents not to fall foul of toughened-up laws designed to prevent Legionnaires' disease in the private rented market.
Ignite Gas Care, based in Horsforth, said it was now a legal requirement to carry out a risk assessment on all hot and cold water systems to ascertain the threat of contamination by the Legionella bacteria.
Although official figures state that there are approximately 400 cases of the potentially-fatal Legionnaires' disease each year in the UK, experts believe it could be nearer to 9,000, as many are not reported or passed off as seasonal flu.
In fact, it is a severe form of pneumonia which can be particularly serious for elderly people and those with weak immune systems. Humans contract the disease by inhaling small droplets containing the deadly bacteria and symptoms can range from high temperatures and muscle pains through to mental confusion and even death.
"This is the latest in a series of tougher laws with the aim of driving up safety standards in a fast-growing sector – handing the legal duty for doing so to agents and landlords," said Jon Oldroyd, managing director of Ignite.
"Gas safety checks and the testing of electrics have long played a key role in keeping tenants safe. But the Legionella assessment, coupled with the mandatory introduction of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors later this year, will now give them ultimate peace of mind.
"The updated legislation spells out the legal requirements for landlords and managing agents to help them ensure that the tenant's risk from exposure to legionella from water systems in residential rental property is safely controlled.
"Failure to do these checks, and take action where required, could see hefty fines of up to £20,000 imposed on landlords and lettings agents."
The company has invested in specialist training and equipment to enable its team of engineers to carry out the assessment at the same time they perform other safety checks to minimise the disruption to tenants.
A risk assessment involves assessing whether conditions are right for bacteria to flourish. The greatest risk is where water is present at temperatures between 20C and 45C. Stagnant water, in tanks for example, infrequently used outlets, showers and air conditioning units, debris in water systems, and thermostatic mixing valves should be checked and corrective action taken where necessary.
Safeguards may involve disinfecting water systems, cleaning shower heads, servicing air conditioning units, removing or stagnant water pools and water tanks from systems, insulating pipework, and keeping water cisterns properly covered and free of debris.
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What our customers say
Ignite Gas provides a wide variety of gas related services to individual home-owners, companies, landlords, letting agents, Housing Associations and Local Authorities throughout the Yorkshire region.
‘ Tony from Ignite was here (quite excellent again -they are brilliant, really) -he has sorted things out and will put it in his report to you.Warren January 2018
‘ I want to thoroughly recommend Tony and Ignite. The company rang me immediately that morning and offered me a choice of times that day to help fit in with me. …Glenys Riddell January 2018
‘ Just a bit of feedback, Charlie your engineer is so helpful and pleasant, he also explains things really well when he returns the keys. I know this sounds a …Christine October 2017
‘ Thank you so much for that and please pass on to management how polite, helpful and totally competent Mark the engineer was, would totally recommend him and …Neil Slater October 2017
‘ I want to write and express my great thanks to Tony Valentine for attending to the job at such short notice today. He was prompt, friendly and approachable and …Sun Park April 2017
‘ I would just like to take this opportunity to say how great this experience has been considering we were without heating or hot water. Nick and the other …Mary Baulk April 2017
‘ Many thanks for efficiently arranging this. Our boiler works perfectly now. Your guy was very prompt, courteous, effective and cleared up after himself very …B Posmyk March 2017
‘ The tenants did note that your representative was really great, turned up on time, was really professional and even cleaned up everything afterwards - they …Tracey March 2017
‘ Hi Jon, I just wanted to let you know how pleased Ross & I are with the service we receive from Ignite. We are using the portal whenever possible which is …Christine February 2017