Legionella Risk Assessments: A Landlord and Property Manager’s Guide

Legionella, a bacterium found in water systems that can cause Legionnaires’ disease, poses a significant health risk in residential properties if not properly managed. As a landlord or property manager, conducting regular Legionella Risk Assessments is a critical part of your duty to ensure the safety and well-being of your tenants. This guide outlines the importance of these assessments, the responsibilities involved, and how to effectively manage the risk of Legionella in your rental properties.


Understanding Legionella and Its Risks:

Legionella bacteria thrive in water systems at temperatures between 20°C and 45°C. When water containing the bacteria is aerosolised and inhaled, it can lead to Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia. Rental properties with infrequently used water systems, such as vacation homes or apartments with tenant turnover, are particularly at risk.


Landlord Responsibilities:

  • Conduct Risk Assessments: You are legally required to assess the risk of Legionella in your properties. This doesn’t always mean a professional assessment is needed, but you must identify and assess potential sources of risk.
  • Implement Control Measures: If a risk is identified, appropriate measures must be taken to control it. This could involve adjusting water temperatures, flushing out the system before tenant occupation, or removing unused pipework.
  • Maintain Water Systems: Regular maintenance of the property’s water systems is crucial. This includes descaling showers and taps, checking and cleaning water tanks, and ensuring the hot water is hot enough and the cold water is cool enough to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Keep Records: Maintain records of any risk assessments and control measures implemented. This documentation can be crucial in demonstrating compliance if a health issue arises.


Implementing Effective Legionella Management:

  • Educate Tenants: Inform tenants about the risks of Legionella and advise them on simple preventive measures, such as regularly cleaning showerheads and letting taps run if they have been away for a period.
  • Regular Inspections and Maintenance: Incorporate Legionella checks into your regular property inspections. Ensure that any corrective actions identified during assessments are carried out promptly.
  • Use of Professionals: For larger or more complex water systems, consider hiring a professional to conduct the Legionella Risk Assessment and advise on control measures.
  • Stay Informed: Legislation and guidelines regarding Legionella prevention can change. Stay informed about best practices and legal requirements to ensure your properties remain compliant and safe.


Managing the risk of Legionella is an ongoing responsibility for landlords and property managers. By understanding the risks, conducting regular assessments, and implementing necessary control measures, you can provide a safe living environment for your tenants. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, and a proactive approach to Legionella risk management not only protects your tenants but also your investment in your property.


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