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Important Changes for Landlords to HSE Legislation on Control of Legionnaires Disease

The Health and Safety Executive has recently updated legislation regarding the control of Legionnaires’ disease. This revision means the legislation now applies to residential lettings, which was not covered previously.

All residential properties which are rented out must now have a risk assessment undertaken to determine the risk of Legionella, which then allows landlords to implement a suitable control scheme.

Legionella are bacteria that are common in natural (rivers and lakes etc) and artificial water systems, eg hot and cold water systems (storage tanks, pipework, taps and showers).

We usually associate Legionella with larger water systems, eg in factories, hotels, hospitals and museums, and cooling towers, but they can also live in smaller water supply systems used in homes and other residential accommodation.

As a landlord, under health and safety law, you have a duty to take suitable precautions to prevent or control the risk of exposure to Legionella.

Carrying out a risk assessment is your responsibility and will help you to establish any potential risks and implement measures to either eliminate or control risks.

To identify the risks in your water system you, or a competent person who understands your water systems and any associated equipment, should establish any possible exposure to Legionella risks, as part of a risk assessment.

Your risk assessment should include:

  • Management responsibilities, including the name of the competent person and a description of your system;
  • Any potential risk sources;
  • Any controls currently in place to control risks;
  • Monitoring, inspection and maintenance procedures;
  • Records of the monitoring results, inspection and checks carried out; and a review date.

If you decide that the risks are insignificant and are being properly managed to comply with the law, your assessment is complete. You will not need to take any further action, but it is important to review your assessment periodically in case anything changes.

ARLA (The Association for Residential Lettings Agents) and the Health & Safety Executive have released some useful guidance on why and how the assessments need to be carried out. We have detailed links to their websites below.

If you would like to discuss the above in more detail and how it may affect you as a landlord, please contact Sean Skelton on tel: 01642 710742.

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