Legionella & Landlords’ Responsibilities – Part One
Landlords have a duty to make sure anyone renting and staying in their property is safe from any potential hazards that could pose a threat to their health and safety. This applies to all landlords who rent out properties to individuals, and also to those who rent out rooms in hostels and manage housing associations, for example. This article considers the risks posed by Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease and examines the landlords’ responsibilities in this important area.
Regardless of what type of property you rent out, you have a duty and a responsibility as the landlord to make sure you safeguard the health and safety of your tenants and the people visiting your property. This applies in relation to legionella risks as well as other health and safety risks of varying kinds.
Do landlords’ have to perform a detailed Legionella risk assessment?
Surprisingly, the answer is no. As a landlord you do not need to carry out a detailed Legionella risk assessment of your property. However, every situation is different and you should not assume this is always the case. You will still have to perform a basic risk assessment with regard to Legionella that needs to identify the primary risks and how they should be managed, and you should keep a copy of this risk assessment for your records.
Very often, domestic hot and cold water systems are not at high risk of developing problems with Legionella bacteria. Their regular use and the volume of water used each day tends to keep the risk generally low.
Larger buildings with bigger or more complex water systems, vacant properties or those used only infrequently may be different, however, so do assess the risk at each individual property you have, to make sure you do not fall foul of the legal requirements asked of you.
Is there a need for water storage?
Hot water tanks can pose a greater potential risk for Legionella to develop. This is because the water is warmer and can stand in the tank for longer periods. However, if that water is stored at the appropriate temperature on a constant basis, the risks associated with a hot water tank can be mitigated. Meanwhile, a system that heats water to the correct temperature as and when it is required is far less likely to develop an issue with Legionella bacteria growing and spreading.
Make sure your tenant is aware of any Legionella control measures you put in place
Performing a Legionella risk assessment and taking associated actions to control and manage any risks is your duty as the landlord. However, you should also make sure you notify your tenant(s) of anything you have done to ensure the risks of Legionella are minimal.
It is also a good idea to ask them to call you immediately if there are issues with heating or hot water, as this could affect the measures you have put in place.
As a responsible landlord you can read more about what you need to do to control the risks associated with Legionella in part two of this article.
Expert legionella risk assessment assistance for landlords
To find out more about our Legionella risk assessment services for landlords and property owners, our Legionella testing and other specialist Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease control services please contact us on 0161 877 0586 (Manchester) or 0203 637 47 48 (London).
152 City Road
London EC1V 2NX
Tel: +44 (0) 203 637 47 48
Unit B Badex Building
Manchester M17 1AY
Tel: +44 (0) 161 877 0586
For additional information about Legionella risk assessments for landlords … here