As a landlord you may be feeling confused about your responsibilities regarding Legionella control; in our experience, many rental property owners are either unaware of the legal requirements, or are confused by conflicting advice they’ve received. Allow us to do some myth-busting by referring you to the Health & Safety Executive’s website, the best source of accurate information ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ (the HSE is the Government organisation which oversees Legionella control legislation). There are four crucial pages to read and bookmark:
L8 Approved Code of Practice
This leaflet is the official HSE guidance on Legionella control and is applicable to landlords and rental property. It is available to download for free, or you can order paper copies. It covers such matters as “identifying and assessing sources of risk, preparing a scheme to prevent or control risk, implementing, managing and monitoring precautions, keeping records of precautions and appointing a manager to be responsible for others.” Every landlord should read the leaflet and keep a copy to hand for future reference. If you have a letting or managing agent looking after your property, make sure that they are also familiar with L8.
Legionella and landlords’ responsibilities
This page provides important clarification on the definition of a landlord, what the law says, what landlords must do, and what your tenant needs to know. There is also useful guidance on the basics of carrying out a Legionella risk assessment. In other words, it’s essential reading!
Frequently asked questions
This section of the HSE’s website is a great reference point and helpfully breaks down the information on Legionella control into bitesize chunks. If you have questions or are confused about any aspect of the subject or your responsibilities, it’s a good place to start. We also have an FAQ section on our website which may prove useful, as well as a glossary of terms.
Control of Legionella bacteria in hot and cold water systems
This more in depth advice leaflet from the HSE – officially called HSG274 Part 2 – is particularly aimed at dutyholders i.e. the person ultimately responsible for Legionella control in a building. In the case of rental property, this is the landlord. It goes into more detail about water system design, different plumbing set-ups for hot and cold water and also tells you what to do if there is an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease. It is a detailed and practical guide which is worth downloading or keeping on file.
Lastly, the HSE operates a useful eBulletins service where you can sign up to receive free email updates relating to Legionnaires’ disease (or any other of the dozens of topics available). If there are any changes in legislation or new guidance is published, you’ll be the first to hear about it.
As you can see, a couple of hours browsing the HSE’s website will be time well-spent. You can also visit our blog for a wide variety of information, or feel free to contact us with your questions.