WITH The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill expected to come into effect early next year, landlords would do well to expect an increased focus on the water supply in their property.
Make sure your landlords know their responsibilities…
WITH The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Bill expected to come into effect early next year, landlords would do well to expect an increased focus on the water supply in their property. Although tap water is deemed safe to drink in this country, contaminated water can lead to a host of health issues (such as Legionnaire’s disease or in rare cases cholera) and water supply is set to become a hot topic. So what should landlords be doing to keep their water safe?
Public versus private
For most properties, the water will come from a public supplier, which limits the risk (and minimises a landlord’s exposure). All water suppliers in the UK are legally required to adhere to the EU Drinking Water Directive, which ensures it is safe to drink. The directive includes a clause specifying that water must be free from any microorganisms and parasites. Landlords whose properties are supplied in this way can rest easy on this score and focus their efforts on maintaining their appliances and having their water systems regularly checked.
For landlords of properties with a private supply of water (a well on the grounds of the property for example), the issue becomes a little more complex. It’s impossible to guarantee the quality of water that comes from a source like this without putting a filter or some other type of cleaning process into place. Landlords with these sorts of properties should have their supply checked by a qualified and registered Environmental Health officer, who can then provide the appropriate recommendations to ensure safety at source.
Staying out of hot water
Landlords whose properties are connected to a public supply could be forgiven for thinking that water issues don’t concern them. But sadly, that’s not the case. Although their tenants are unlikely to face sanitary concerns (provided their systems are kept clean) it’s still a legal requirement under the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985 for landlords to ensure a ready and constant supply of hot water at their property. Failure to do so would see them as equally in breach of the Act as if they were to supply unclean water.
Luckily, keeping a property supplied with hot water is relatively simple, provided regular maintenance checks on are performed on boilers or central heating systems. The most important thing to remind landlords is to ask their tenants to keep them informed if they have any concerns. Water safety and supply, just like all other maintenance issues, are a two way street – landlords can only act on issues as and when they’re informed of them.
For more information about water safety and supply, why not download our FREE e-book ‘Water Supply and Quality – what are your responsibilities?' here?