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Agony Agent

10th June 2017

Each week, we answer a reader’s rental property question, from first-time landlords to experienced owners.  Agony Agent, is here to help!

Q:  What is a Legionella Risk Assessment and do I need to have one done?

A:  This is a complex question, even though it may seem simple; basically it is not law, however, it is highly recommended.

Health & Safety Law is clear regarding the risk of Legionella. Legionella Risk Assessments are not a legal requirement, however, owners of domestic properties which are used for rental accommodation are advised to undertake a Legionella Risk Assessment. The confusion arises because The Health and Safety Executive says Legionella Risk Assessments  are required on all domestic properties which are rented out to a tenant. This is the challenge for rental property owners, as this is where we fall into the grey area, as it is not a legal requirement, much like the electracy safety check, but both are highly recommended.

The Health and Safety Executive says:

  • The duty holder or responsible party needs to consider, assess and control the risk of exposure to legionella
  • Risk assessments must be produced by a competent person to ensure compliance
  • The risk assessment will identify measures to reduce the risk of increasing levels of legionella bacteria
  • The duty holder or responsible party must inform a tenant about any control measures put in place to maintain a low risk
  • The duty holder is ultimately responsible for the consequences of not having an assessment

The 2014 technical guidance states what landlords and duty holders must do to comply with the law:

2.138 “Landlords who provide residential accommodation, as the person in control of the premises or responsible for the water systems in their premises, have a legal duty to ensure that the risk of exposure of tenants to legionella is properly assessed and controlled.  This duty extends to residents, guests, tenants and customers. They can carry out a risk assessment themselves if they are competent, or employ somebody who is.“ HSG274 (2014)

Landlords should note that the Legionella Risk Assessor should be certified and trained to comply with the relevant legislation. Ignorance is no defense in law, but those landlords who do comply with the legislation will have instructed an assessor in order to comply with the law and ensure their properties are safe. When choosing a Legionella Risk Assessor a landlord should look for an individual with a QCF backed qualification, as this assessor will have been trained in line with the relevant Health and Safety Legislation. It means that the landlord can feel assured that the assessment has been carried out by a competent person with the expertise, knowledge and credibility to maintain compliance. If you are unable to find someone you either like or are comfortable with then please contact our office for our recommended suppliers.

Richard Bond

Lettings Manager

Sow & Reap

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