All landlords have a duty of care to the tenants housed in their accommodation

I’m A Landlord - how do I know if I need a Legionella Risk Assessment?

All landlords have a duty of care to the tenants housed in their accommodation. The HSE requires that landlords carry out satisfactory risk assessments for Legionella. Consequently, there is also an ongoing responsibility to maintain control measures to minimise risk. Further guidance from the HSE regarding your responsibility as landlord in relation to Legionella can be found here

How Do I Know If This Applies to Me?

The law states that if you are a landlord and rent out your property, including a room within your own house, you have legal responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of the tenant by keeping the property safe and free from health hazards. This is stated in Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA).

How Do I Know If My Property is Likely to be High Risk?

Most domestic properties and their associated water systems present a low risk. However, it is important to undertake satisfactory risk assessments to establish this risk and introduce any control measures required to minimise risk.

What Do I Need To Do?

Whilst there is a duty to assess the risk from exposure to Legionella to ensure the safety of tenants, this assessment does not generally require an in-depth, detailed assessment.

The risks from hot and cold water systems in residential demises are generally considered to be low. This is largely due to regular daily usage which in turn is sufficient to turn over the entire system.

A simple assessment will often show that there are no real risks, and that any identified have appropriate control measures in place already. If this is the case, no further action will be needed however it is very important that the assessment is reviewed if anything changes in the current system.


How Do I Implement Control Measures?

Introducing appropriate and often simple control measures will often ensure that risks remain low. In many cases, temperature is a key aspect which will ensure the minimisation of exposure to Legionella bacteria. This means that the cold water must be cold, the hot water must be hot (over 60 degrees) and that the system is regularly flushed through and kept moving.

Instantaneous water heaters can further reduce the risks because as a result there is no stored water.

What About The Tenant?

Tenants should be advised of any control measures that have been put in place to prevent risk. Tenants must also be advised of the importance of informing the landlord if there are any problems with the water system, for example the water not heating properly.

Whilst in a residential setting, showers are likely to be used frequently, the tenant should be advised to regularly clean and disinfect showerheads.

What Do I Do If The Property is Vacant?

Outlets on hot and cold water systems should be used at least once a week to prevent stagnation and maintain a degree of water flow.

To manage the risks associated with vacant properties, it is important to implement a suitable flushing regime or other methods to ensure the prevent of stagnation in the system.

Do I need to keep the assessment and how often should it be reviewed?

Landlords are not required by law to keep a copy of the assessment, however it is recommended that you keep a record of it for your own purposes. There is also no requirement to review the assessment on a pre-described frequency, however it is important to review the assessment periodically to ensure that nothing has changed and the current assessment therefore still remains fit for purpose.

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How Can EMS Water Help?

EMS Water’s team are experienced, qualified and independent risk assessors. EMS Water is able to provide independent, comprehensive Legionella Risk Assessments. In addition, we are also able to provide independent consultancy services for any remedial work (if identified) in the Risk Assessment as well as ongoing support and training services to ensure compliance and safety.

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