Legionnaire's Disease in rental property.

Update on our previous article concerning managing Legionella risk in rented properties.

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Since 2012 Legionella Risk Assessments have been a mandatory requirement that all Residential Landlords must have carried out upon all of their rental properties at least every two years. Now the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) have further tightened up the obligations for landlords and letting agents acting on their behalf to ensure that Legionella Risk Assessments are carried out more frequently by a suitably competent person. This includes at a change of tenant(s) in the property, any alteration to the property’s water systems and similar events.

Failure to carry out a Legionella Risk Assessment carries a fine of up to £20,000 not to mention the moral and commercial implication of legal proceedings following a contracted case of Legionnaire’s Disease where no Risk Assessment was carried out.

The purpose of this article is to assist you to be clear on legionella legislation and your responsibilities. Find out more and order your Risk Assessments today.

What is Legionella?

Legionella bacteria are widespread and frequently found in natural water systems such as lakes, rivers and ponds. Rarely are conditions correct for people to catch the disease directly from these sources though. Legionella outbreaks usually occur from exposure to legionella bacteria growing in cooling towers, hot and cold water systems, spa pools and similar systems found in both domestic and commercial settings. Legionella outbreaks can cause Legionnaire’s Disease in infected people. Legionnaire’s Disease can be fatal and letting agents’ and landlords’ are responsible for ensuring risk factors that can led to the disease are checked for and investigated to prevent fatalities.

How is Legionnaire’s Disease contracted?

Legionnaires’ Disease is caused by inhaling small droplets of water which contain legionella bacteria (often referred to as aerosols) that are suspended in the air. The chances of an increased risk from legionella occur if:

1. water temperature in all/some parts of the system are between 20-45°C
2. breathable water droplets containing legionella bacteria are created and dispersed into the surrounding air e.g. aerosol created from water outlets such as showers or fast running bath and sink taps
3. water is stored and/or re-circulated
4. there are deposits in systems that can support legionella bacterial growth - these can be rust, sludge, slime and similar

Who can carry out a Legionella Risk Assessment & what is checked? 

A Legionella Risk Assessment can be carried out by the landlord or letting agent but the ACOP L8 Guidance makes very clear that if carried out by the landlord or their agent that either party must be able to demonstrate that they are suitably competent and/or have undertaken suitable training or have previous expertise in order to be able to assess the risk correctly and competently.

Most agents and landlords do not have this ability and therefore discharge their responsibilities as duty-holders to a water industry qualified expert with relevant knowledge, experience and training. 

Our Legionella Risk Assessment are carried out by a provider who is:

Fully qualified
Fully insured
A member of the Water Management Society (Wmsoc)
A member of the Legionella Control Association (LCA)
One of the leading experts in their field
Order your Legionella Risk Assessments through us today.

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