What is a Legionella Certificate?
If you have been researching the legal requirements of landlords and property owners regarding the control of legionella and Legionnaires’ disease, you may have encountered information about legionella certificates. There appears to be some confusion over what these are and whether they are actually required.
Here, we dispel some of the myths and set the record straight about legionella certification.
Legionella certificates are not recognised by the Health & Safety Executive
You may be surprised to learn that legionella certificates are not recognised by the UK’s health and safety regulator, the Health & Safety Executive. This is the most important thing to remember. There is no legal requirement for landlords or property owners of any type or size of property to obtain or create such a certificate. There is no such thing.
However, you do need to make sure that you do complete a thorough legionella risk assessment for each property you own or are responsible for. If a property is simple, it is likely a landlord can do this on their own using a pre-prepared template. There is no need to keep records of the assessment, although it is always prudent to do so in case evidence is needed later. The exception to this is any assessment in a location that employs at least five or more people.
Is it worth hiring a competent expert to perform the legionella risk assessment?
The word ‘competent’ regularly surfaces when reading guidance on legionella control. There is some disagreement over what this means and whether the Health & Safety Executive would agree that a competent person had performed the assessment if anything went wrong later.
Hence why many landlords decide to hire a competent and qualified professional to conduct the legionella risk assessment on their behalf. In simple situations, i.e. where a small residential / private property is rented out, with an understanding of the risk factors the landlord could probably conduct the assessment themselves. However, the more complex the property is, the more beneficial it would be to hire an expert, such as Legionella Control International to complete the risk assessment process.
Are property letting agents leading people in the wrong direction?
Some landlords have been asked to provide the non-existent legionella certificate as a condition of being taken on by a letting agent. However, while a legionella risk assessment is certainly a legal requirement, the Health & Safety Executive has confirmed no such certificate exists, nor would it be recognised by them. This is clearly stated on their website.
Always ensure you get a legionella risk assessment from a competent provider
Hiring an expert to conduct the risk assessment for Legionella bacteria is money well spent for many property owners and landlords. However, it is vital to ensure the company or person chosen to carry out the assessment is qualified to do the job.
It’s a sobering thought to remember that the buck still stops with the landlord if anything goes wrong. Identifying and minimising legionella risks is paramount, no matter the size of the property.
Legionella control water safety specialists
Our teams of water safety specialists support those responsible for the control of waterborne pathogens including Legionella bacteria, helping them to protect public health and meet their health and safety obligations in this area. We deliver professional water safety risk assessments for legionella and other waterborne pathogens, water testing, independent compliance auditing, City & Guilds training and other environmental risk management services that help keep staff and others safe.
If you have questions about any of the issues raised above or you would like to speak with one of our specialists please call us today on 0330 223 36 87 or contact us here.