The risk of Legionella may not be as well-known as carbon monoxide poisoning or fire, but it is yet another threat to a tenant’s health. As for the other risks, landlords have specific obligations to manage the risk.
What is Legionella
According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Legionnaires’ disease is “a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing Legionella.” The legionella bacteria can cause fevers, headaches, shortness of breath, coughing and nausea. Older people with lung issues or poor immune systems are particularly at risk.
Legionella can grow in all hot and cold artificial water systems that provide the right environment to allow the bacteria cells to multiply.
Why do landlords need to be aware of Legionella?
As a landlord renting a property, you have a legal responsibility to ensure the health and safety of your tenants. This means keeping your property free from health hazards in accordance with UK legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and the HSE’s L8 Approved Code of Practice.
As Legionella is a potential health risk, landlords have a legal duty to make an assessment of the risk of Legionella and then manage and control any possible incidence of exposure to the bacteria.
How can landlords manage the risks from Legionella?
Conducting the appropriate risk assessments determines Legionella’s risk, enabling landlords to understand where there are risks and put in place measures to mitigate them.
How frequently risk assessments for Legionella need to be conducted will vary. Properties in regular use, where water systems aren’t left standing, will likely need less frequent assessments than older properties or a property where water systems are left standing for long periods.
Following a risk assessment, certain control measures can be implemented to help reduce the risk of illness:
• Controlling water temperature so it isn’t kept within the range where Legionella can develop. Hot water needs to be hot, and cold water needs to be cold.
• Don’t allow water to stagnate in water systems; keep it flowing.
• Flush water systems through before new tenants move in.
• Keep water tanks covered to avoid debris getting into them.
• Control the release of water vapour.
• Remove redundant pipework.
Who can assess the Legionella risk?
When conducting a risk assessment for Legionella, a professionally trained or accredited assessor isn’t required. Still, the assessment must be conducted by a competent person who understands the risk of Legionella and where it may lurk within the property. With this specialist knowledge, you may conduct thorough assessments, putting tenants at risk.
How can No Letting Go help you?
The experienced team at No Letting Go regularly conducts Legionella risk assessments pre-tenancy. They will continue to ensure that properties are well maintained and remain a safe place to live or work in through our mid-tenancy assessments and end-of-tenancy services.
You can learn more about Legionella, the obligations placed on landlords to manage this risk, and actions you can take to protect yourself and your tenants by visiting our website here.
Our range of tenancy services are designed to ensure that landlords remain on top of their duty to protect tenants.
No Letting Go
If you would like to discuss how our local support or national network at No Letting Go could become your inventory partner, streamlining your costs and reducing your workload, then contact No Letting Go today.
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