Landlords Guide to Legionella Risk Assessment


Landlords Guide to Legionella Risk Assessment

Amongst the many responsibilities that landlords have, Legionella risk assessments are perhaps one of the most important. Whilst it isn’t a legal requirement for landlords in the UK to carry out this risk assessment, landlords do have a duty of care over the health and safety of their tenants. So undoubtedly, making sure that your property’s water is safe for your tenants to drink and use is vital.

In thig blog, we’ll explore what your responsibilities are as a landlord when it comes to water and the steps you can take to make sure you keep your water and your tenants, safe.

What is Legionella?

The Health and Safety Executive defines Legionnaires Disease as a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing Legionella. Legionella bacteria has the potential to manifest in all man-made hot and cold water systems if the conditions are favorable. The risk of contamination is particular higher in; temperatures between 20°C and 45°C, water tanks or systems in which water has been left stagnant and/or recirculated, such as when properties are left empty for long periods of time, and if there’s ‘food’ for the bacteria to grow on such as rust, scale, or biofilm.

What does a Legionella Risk Assessment involve?

A Legionella risk assessment is a practical survey which will provide an overall assessment of your water system, as a way to ensure that the risk of exposure to Legionella is minimised to protect tenants. Whilst you can assess this yourself, to be on the safe side we’d advise that you hire an assessor to check this for you as they will have a greater understanding of the risks involved and can advise the appropriate next steps.

The assessment itself will follow the steps below:

  • Identify the hazards
  • Identify who may be at risk
  • Test the water system for Legionella
  • Implement adequate control measures
  • Record the findings of the assessment
  • Review the risk assessment

We highly recommend that a Legionella risk assessment is carried out every 2 years on rental properties, before a new tenancy begins and whenever there are any changes to the property’s water systems.

How Can Landlords Minimise the Risk of Legionella?

There are some simple control measures that landlords can take to reduce the risk of Legionella in their properties. These include:

  • Flushing out the system before the property is let (and ensuring that during any periods where you don’t have tenants, this is done once a week)
  • Ensure water systems and tanks are fully operational and tightly fit, so to avoid any debris getting in
  • Setting control parameters e.g., setting the temperate of a hot water cylinder at 60°C
  • Remove any faulty or unnecessary pipework

How Can We Help?

At ZFA, we can help you manage your property or portfolio of properties. If you’re thinking of buying to let and have any questions or concerns regarding Legionella risk assessments, chat to one of our friendly knowledgeable employees – we can help you with a range of services, from rent guarantee and property management, estate agency and property investment, and commercial letting.

Contact us today if you have any questions and we’ll take care of the rest.

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