Legionnaire Risk Assessments In Aberdeen Legionella and landlords’ responsibilities
Now a legal requirement for landlords in the UK
Legionella UK Ltd
We have teamed up with Legionella UK Ltd to offer you a fantastic opportunity to get your Legionella Risk Assessment carried out at a discount cost.
New legislation means you the landlord are responsible for carrying out Legionella Risk Assessments on your residential lettings. Landlords will face very large fines or even imprisonment for non-compliance.
Legionella is a form of bacteria commonly found in water systems such as water tanks, pipes and air conditioning units. By inhaling small droplets of water containing this bacteria it can cause Legionnaires' Disease.
How does it work?
A qualified assessor will need to visit your property. The inspection will take between 30 minutes and 1 hour depending on the size or complexity of your premises.
You then receive a fully completed and compliant Legionella Risk Assessment identifying any risks and putting in place control measures to reduce any risks identified. This demonstrates your compliance with the new legislation.
What is Legionella?
Legionnaires' disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing Legionella. All man-made hot and cold water systems are likely to provide an environment where Legionella can grow. Where conditions are favourable (ie suitable growth temperature range; water droplets (aerosols) produced and dispersed; water stored and/or recirculated; some 'food' for the organism to grow such as rust, sludge, scale, biofilm etc) then the bacteria may multiply thus increasing the risk of exposure. It is a simple fact that the organism will colonise both large and small systems so both require risks to be managed effectively.
What is a landlord?
A landlord is anyone who rents out a property they own under a lease or a licence that is shorter than seven years. Landlords' duties apply to a wide range of accommodation, occupied under a lease or a licence, which includes but not exclusively, residential premises provided for rent by:
local authorities housing associations private sector landlords housing co-operatives hostels What you must do
The practical and proportionate application of health and safety law to landlords of domestic rental properties is that whilst there is a duty to assess the risk from exposure to Legionella to ensure the safety of their tenants, this does not require an in-depth, detailed assessment. The risks from hot and cold water systems in most residential settings are generally considered to be low owing to regular water usage and turnover. A typical ‘low risk’ example may be found in a small building (eg housing unit) with small domestic-type water systems, where daily water usage is inevitable and sufficient to turn over the entire system; where cold water is directly from a wholesome mains supply (no stored water tanks); where hot water is fed from instantaneous heaters or low volume water heaters (supplying outlets at 50 °C); and where the only outlets are toilets and wash hand basins.
A simple assessment may show that there are no real risks and are being properly managed and no further action is needed. It is important to review the assessment in case anything changes in the system.
Implementing simple, proportionate and appropriate control measures will ensure the risk remains low. For most domestic hot and cold water systems, temperature is the most reliable way of ensuring the risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria is minimised ie keep the hot water hot, cold water cold and keep it moving. Other simple control measures to help control the risk of exposure to Legionella include:
avoiding debris getting into the system (eg ensure the cold water tanks, where fitted, have a tight fitting lid) setting control parameters (eg setting the temperature of the hot water cylinder (calorifier) to ensure water is stored at 60°C) make sure any redundant pipework identified is removed.
The risk is further lowered where instantaneous water heaters (for example combi boilers and electric showers) are installed because there is no water storage.
Testing (or sampling) the water system for Legionella
Testing or sampling for Legionella (sometimes referred to as microbiological monitoring) is not usually required for domestic hot and cold water systems, but only in very specific circumstances (
HSG274 Part 2, para 2.120). Testing for Legionella should not be confused with temperature monitoring, which is a reliable method for confirming the water system is under control. Health and safety law does NOT require landlords to obtain, produce nor does HSE recognise a ‘Legionella test certificate’. Keeping a record of the assessment
Landlords are not necessarily required to record the findings of the assessment (this is only a statutory duty for employers where there are five or more employees), but they may find it prudent to keep a record of what has been done for their own purposes.
Reviewing your risk assessment
The law does not prescribe that the risk assessment be reviewed on an annual or biennial basis. It is important to review the assessment periodically in case anything changes but where there are difficulties gaining access to occupied housing units, appropriate checks can be made by carrying out inspections of the water system, for example, when undertaking mandatory visits such as gas safety checks or routine maintenance visits.
Are domestic properties proactively inspected?
HSE and Local Authority inspectors do not proactively inspect domestic premises or ask for evidence that landlords have undertaken a risk assessment. However, if a tenant were to contract Legionnaires’ disease from the water system in their home, the landlord may be liable to prosecution under HSWA, and would have to demonstrate to a court that they had fulfilled their legal duty, so it is important that they assess and control the risks (see