Legionella Risk Assessment for Property Management

Whether you own a property for commercial purposes or are a landlord of a rented property, there is a duty to prevent and control the risk of Legionella and Legionnaire’s disease.
Testing for Legionella will depend on the circumstances and risk levels in each situation; however, landlords and letting agencies have a duty to ensure that any potential risk in the premises is assessed and controlled.

 What is Legionella?

Legionella is a bacteria which can cause Legionnaire’s disease or Legionellosis —a collective term for multiple diseases associated with the bacteria. 
 
Legionnaire’s disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia which is contracted by inhaling tiny contaminated particles of water suspended in the air. The bacteria is found in the natural environment and may grow in domestic hot and cold water systems.
 
It can be killed by temperatures of 60ºC or above.

 Who is responsible for the management of Legionella risk?

The individual in control of the property is held accountable and responsible for the management of potential Legionella risk. In rented properties, it is the responsibility of the landlord or the letting agency.
 
Be that as it may, both parties may have equal legal obligations. They should ensure:
 
  • A Legionella risk assessment is carried out.
  • A responsible individual or individuals are appointed.
  • The competency of whoever is responsible for conducting the assessment.
  • That all individuals are provided with the necessary information, training and supervision.
 
Although testing for Legionella is not a legal requirement according to the Health & Safety Executive, landlords are required to demonstrate that the water system in their properties is safe. Both landlords and tenants can either hire a Legionella risk assessor or take a Legionella risk assessment training to carry it out themselves.
 
Legionella training is also part of many online retrofit training courses and retrofit assessor accreditations as part of an ongoing approach to ensuring properties -new or refurbished - are compliant with current legislation.

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