The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted practically every aspect of our lives whether on a personal or professional level. With this, comes a very real and new concern over the spread of Legionella within the water systems of dormant properties.

This adds to the already complex challenges and hurdles created by COVID-19, some of which we are yet to overcome, so we are having to consistently adapt and change in order to keep ourselves and those around us safe.

With the entire property industry having been closed down to minimise the spread of COVID-19; this has inevitably led to many properties being stood empty and not checked up on. This will not just apply to empty properties, but also to business premises and shared spaces that have been dormant throughout the lockdown. 

Today, Public Health England (PHE) Legionella guidance has been released urging businesses including people in control of premises, such as landlords to regularly flush through their water systems – most specifically, but not limited to, dental practices, hairdressers, gyms, hotels,  offices and residential premises. 

Legionella is naturally occurring within water systems and if protocols aren’t followed, this can lead to Legionnaires Disease developing in the hot and cold water systems which, in some cases, can be fatal especially if someone has a compromised immune system or is fighting the virus.

If the property’s cold water supply is above 20c bacteria can multiply, and matched with little or no water flow, it provides the perfect conditions for Legionella to take hold. 

Public Health England also advises that all businesses will be required to complete a water management system review before reopening their premises.

As a minimum – any business or property that has stood empty for more than 2 weeks should:

  • Check the temperature of the cold water at source; it must be below 20c
  • Run all taps within the property for a minimum of 10 minutes on a medium-fast flow
  • Flush all toilets/showers several times before use being careful not to inhale any water droplets 

Our InventoryBase Academy Legionella Risk Assessment Template provides a free resource to all InventoryBase users, designed to follow and capture the requirements of residential water supplies in the rental sector.

If in doubt, always refer to an approved and insured Legionella Risk Assessor to complete a thorough and detailed legionnaire risk assessment. This will ensure that tenants, their visitors and anyone accessing the property, especially inventory providers who will need to wash their hands are kept safe and COVID Secure.