Returning to a property? Be aware of Legionnaires Disease

Have a safe return to a vacated property


What is Legionnaires Disease? 

  • Legionellosis is a collective term for diseases caused by legionella bacteria the most commonly known being Legionnaires’ disease – a potentially fatal form of pneumonia and everyone is susceptible to infection.  
  • Some people are at higher risk, e.g. people over 45, heavy? smokers/drinkers, those with chronic respiratory or kidney disease, diabetes, an impaired immune system. 
  • Legionella bacteria can be found in natural and purpose-built water systems such as those in residential and workplace buildings.? 
  • The bacteria can be spread via showers and taps, especially if they have not been used for some time. 


Why am I being told about this? 

Anyone can be at risk at any time.  People can catch the disease by inhaling small droplets of water which may be suspended in the air and contain the bacteria. Stored and recirculated water is a particular risk. However, there is an increased risk as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic because there is the potential for an increased number of people to be susceptible to Legionnaires Disease due to a number of additional factors: 

  • a compromised respiratory system during or after infection with covid19 
  • Underlying pre-existing health conditions  
  • The property you are renting/about to move into has been empty for weeks/months and waters systems may have developed the bacteria. 
  • You are returning to clear belongings and clean the property.?  
  • Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) – typically a student shared house, pose a greater risk  


What should I do? 

We advise all students to consider whether anyone they are living with or are likely to be living with, might be vulnerable/susceptible.?  

  1. Before returning to a property, consult with your landlord/agent to discuss and give consent to enter for them to make the necessary safeguards without releasing the bacteria.? .?  
  2. Before a new tenancy ask the landlord or agent what measures/risk assessments they have made for this and other safety requirements and ask how recently this was. They may have to re-do this if time has elapsed.? ??? 
  3. We are advising students do not attempt to manage this situation themselves due to the risks involved 


Additional Information for context: 

Newcastle City Council has written a guidance letter for all business sectors aimed to help businesses understand the risks of Legionella 

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have produced two guides following an Approved Code of Practice: 

1 – Legionnaires’ disease: a brief guide for duty holders –? 

2 – Legionnaires’ disease: The control of legionella bacteria in water systems.? 

HSE Legionella and landlords’ responsibilities 

Legionnaires Disease and lockdown risks and reopening safely guidance _ Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) - Involving your tenants in Legionella control 

National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) ?You can also find more information here - How to protect your tenants and your property from Legionnaires Disease  


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