Landlords of residential accommodation have responsibilities for combating Legionnaires' Disease. Health and safety legislation requires that landlords carry out risk assessments for the Legionella bacteria which cause Legionnaires' Disease and thereafter maintain control measures to minimise the risk.
Most rented premises will be low risk but it is important that risk assessments are carried out and control measures introduced.
This page is intended to give a brief guide to prime landlords on their responsibilities in combating legionella. NRLA members also have access to a risk assessment form to help them document the steps they have taken.
What is Legionnaires' Disease?
Legionnaires' Disease is a pneumonia-like illness caused by the Legionella bacteria and can be fatal. The infection is caused by breathing in small droplets of water contaminated by the bacteria. The disease cannot be passed from one person to another.
Legionella bacteria are found in the natural environment and may contaminate and grow in water systems, including domestic hot and cold water systems. They survive low temperatures and thrive at temperatures between 20 - 45°C if the conditions are right. They are killed by high temperatures at 60°C or above.
Performing a risk assessment to minimise the risk
Landlords are under a duty to ensure that the risk of exposure to tenants, residents and visitors by Legionella is properly assessed and controlled.
Normally there is no reason why the landlord should not carry out this risk assessment himself/herself so long as they are competent. There will be no need to employ a consultant usually. The assessment should be a straight forward simple exercise in ordinary domestic premises.
Landlords will also need to review the assessment periodically, especially if there are any changes to the system.
To assist our members in complying with this we have produced a form for performing the risk assessment. In addition to this, we have also produced a risk review assessment that allows our members to quickly review the situation on a yearly basis.