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Legionella advice for private & social landlords



House of Commons clarification 01.10.2015

Landlords of residential accommodation have responsibilities for combating Legionnaires' Disease. Health and safety legislation requires that landlords carry out risk assessments for the Legionella bacteria which cause Legionnaires' Disease and thereafter maintain control measures to minimise the risk. Most rented premises will be low risk but it is important that risk assessments are carried out and control measures introduced.

This note is intended to give a brief guide to what the landlord should do. Further advice is available from the Health & Safety Executive.

What is Legionnaires' Disease?


Legionnaires' Disease is a pneumonia like illness caused by the Legionella bacteria and can be fatal. The infection is caused by breathing in small droplets of water contaminated by the bacteria.

The disease cannot be passed from one person to another.

Legionella bacteria are found in the natural environment and may contaminate and grow in water systems, including domestic hot and cold water systems. They survive low temperatures and thrive at temperatures between 20 - 45°C if the conditions are right. They are killed by high temperatures at 60°C or above.

Risk assessments

Landlords are under a duty to ensure that the risk of exposure to tenants, residents and visitors by Legionella is properly assessed and controlled.

For most residential settings the risk assessment may well show the risks are low so long as simple control measures referred to in the next section are followed. This will apply to houses or flats with small domestic type water systems where the water turnover is high. Provided the risk assessment shows that the risks are insignificant and the control measures are being properly managed no further action would be necessary. It is important, however, to keep the assessment under review periodically in case anything changes to the system.

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

Please read as landlords liable to a £5000 fine if Carbon Monoxide detectors aren't now fitted


The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015

Please read as landlords liable to a £5000 fine if Carbon Monoxide detectors aren't now fitted

We can supply and fit a British Standard carbon monoxide monitor during your legionella assessment for £19.50 incl


Right to Rent Legislation

From 1st February 2016 the parts of the Immigration Act 2014 dealing with “right to rent” immigration checks came into force in England. Scotland and Wales and other jurisdictions may have similar rules but you need to confirm these before letting. Under the “right to rent” scheme landlords must carry out various checks to establish a right to rent in England before signing up a tenant. Failure to comply carries a fine of up to £3,000 per resident.

We can ID check potential tenants and send you all photographic date stamped evidence.

Legionella Risk Assessments from Competent Assessors

The HSE’s ACOP L8 confirms that both the Legionella risk assessments and control measures should be conducted by competent persons. It defines competence as a person who is suitably informed, instructed and trained and who will have been suitably assessed. The HSE go on to say the Legionella Risk Assessor should be properly trained to a standard which ensure the Legionella assessments are conducted in a safe and technically competent manner.

Regular legionella risk assessments refresher training should be evident and all such records should be maintained.

ACOP L8 also confirms that although training is an essential part of competence, it is not the only factor. Competence is a product of sufficient training, experience, knowledge and other personal qualities which are needed to undertake a task safely. It is dependent on the needs of the situation and the nature of the risk involved.

Legionella Risk Assessments – let us take care of the hassle   

So it’s clear that the Legionella risk assessments must be conducted by someone who can demonstrate competence. But how do you find a competent Legionella risk assessment company or person? How do you choose one company from the other?

Well, on the HSE’s Video they clearly confirm that using an Organisation registered with the Legionella Control Association (LCA) is a very useful vetting tool. This pointer should not be ignored and we strongly recommend that you ensure the company you choose to carry out your legionella risk assessments is registered with the Legionella Control Association for the provision of Independent Legionella Risk Assessments.

Alternatively, the individuals conducting the Legionella Assessment should be registered with the Water Management Society as a full member . This means they will have been vetted for industry relevant training, experience or expertise. Each individually registered Full Member of the Water Management Society will have been trained with a relevant Degree level education or will have been working in the industry for at least 5 years.

What Sort Of Systems In Homes Create a Risk ?

  • Hot and cold water systems
  • Spa pools
  • Showers
  • Ornamental water features / fountains
  • Humidifiers
  • Horticultural water systems

Who is Responsible?

It is the responsibility of the duty holder to ensure that an assessment is carried out to identify and assess the risk of exposure to Legionella from work activities and water systems and to put in place any necessary precautions. The duty holder appoints a person to take day-to-day responsibility for controlling any identified risk from Legionella bacteria. The appointed “responsible person” needs to have:

•Sufficient standing and authority within an organization (e.g. a manager or director) and competence and knowledge of the system to ensure that all operational procedures are carried out in a timely and effective manner

•A clear understanding of their duties and the overall health and safety management structure and policy in the organization.

CRB checked surveyor will carry out 30 minute Legionella survey on the hot and cold water system within the property and then provide you with I.O.S.H certification upon satisfactory completion

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