Legionnaires Disease Guide for Residential Landlords - Are Your Legionella Risks Covered?
This short guide has been written for residential landlords and gives a brief overview of their responsibilities under health and safety law in connection with the control of legionella and Legionnaires’ disease within their properties.
Landlords responsibilities and Legionnaires’ disease
Residential landlords have legal responsibilities to ensure the properties they rent out are safe for their tenants to live or work in. This extends to the management of legionella bacteria that could potentially be present in the properties hot and cold water systems.
It is possible for legionella bacteria to spread within a domestic property; landlords therefore have a legal responsibility to ensure that this cannot happen. Any risk that may be present must be appropriately managed, and that means focusing their attention on a legionella risk assessment as a starting point.
How in-depth does a legionella risk assessment of a residential property need to be?
When reviewing the risks from legionella a landlord renting out a residential property to a tenant need not take the same level of actions as a duty holder or responsible person working in a hospital, responsible for the safety of the water used there. Clearly, the two situations are very different, but this doesn’t mean the landlord can forget all about the potential presence of legionella and the risks from Legionnaires’ disease.
The risks from hot and cold water systems
Domestic hot and cold water systems in residential properties are generally seen as low-risk when it comes to legionella bacteria. However, a legionella risk assessment should still be undertaken, but this only needs to be a simple assessment and not the same in-depth one that would be required at a more complex facility such as a hospital or other healthcare property.
Assessment of the risk and what to do
It is essential to identify the risks associated with domestic residential properties, even if they are considered to be low. When this is achieved, unless there are higher risks identified there should be no further need to do anything, other than to give the tenants simple guidance, and repeat the risk assessment process periodically, to ensure the risk level has not increased.
This does apply in every property a landlord may potentially be responsible for. In most cases, a simple risk assessment will identify few or no issues with the risk level attached to the bacteria. Providing taps, showers etc. are used regularly and the temperature of both hot and cold water systems in the property is consistent and does not stray into the danger zone, there should be very few concerns about managing risk.
Landlords… know your responsibilities
As a landlord you must be able to prove, if asked, that you have conducted appropriate legionella risk assessments at every property you rent out. This applies to every building, even if it is not rented to a private tenant. It is not enough to assume every property is safe, even if the first one checked is deemed low risk.
Knowing your responsibilities under the law is part of being a good landlord. Fortunately, it is easy to make sure you cover all the essentials, as shown here.
Legionnaires' risk assessment
Further information, advice and support
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