Tenancy changeover: seven essential jobs before a new tenant moves in
Tenancy changeover is the ideal time to carry out a few essential tasks which will help to reduce the risk of Legionella in your property. As a landlord or letting agent, it is your legal responsibility to ensure a safe and hygienic water supply for tenants, and here are seven simple jobs which will ensure best practice.
1. Flush the system
If the property has been empty for any length of time, it’s essential that the water system is flushed through as stagnant water in tanks or pipes can be a breeding ground for Legionella. Run taps and showers for a minimum of two minutes each week and flush all toilets.
2. Clean and descale showerheads
Legionella bacteria are dispersed and then breathed in through fine aerosol spray e.g. from the shower. Make sure you thoroughly clean and descale all showerheads before tenants move in and stipulate in your tenancy agreement that they will continue to descale regularly throughout the rental period.
3. Inspect your water tank
Make sure it is in good condition with no corrosion or rust. Also check that there is a properly-fitting lid to prevent debris, animal droppings or other foreign bodies entering the system. Algae is also a source of food for bacteria, so give it a good scrub!
4. Check water temperatures
Check that water storage temperatures are in the safe range (below 20°C and above 60°C). Warm water between these temperatures is perfect for Legionella to breed. Make sure that your tenant doesn’t fiddle with any temperature settings and ask them to report any issues with water temperature to you straight away.
5. Review your risk assessment
The Health & Safety Executive recommends that Legionella risk assessments are reviewed at least once every two years. A changeover of tenant is the idea time to make sure that yours is up-to-date, particularly if you’ve had any renovation or building work done which has involved changes to the plumbing system.
6. Give Legionella information to your tenant
It’s a good idea to give your tenant basic information about Legionella and water hygiene so they understand the control measures you have in place. This is a good example of a simple but effective leaflet.
7. Review your tenancy agreement
As already mentioned, it’s worth including a clause in the rental contract which covers Legionella control and your tenant’s role in keeping the water supply safe. As well as descaling and monitoring water temperature, tenants should not be allowed to make changes or additions to the plumbing system without your permission and must notify you of any plumbing problems as a matter of urgency.