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Legionella - Legislation For Landlords

The Law is clear that if you are a Landlord and rent out your property (or even a room within your own home) then you have legal responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of your tenant by keeping the property safe and free from health hazards.

Since the L8 Approved Code of Practice (3rd edition) (ACOP) was published in 2001, there has been a requirement for Landlords of both domestic and business premises to assess the risks from exposure to legionella to their tenants. Landlords of domestic rental properties have a duty to assess the risk from exposure to legionella to ensure the safety of their tenants. In England and Wales there are on average 500 cases of Legionnaires' disease reported each year with a mortality rate of 12%. If a tenant were to contract Legionnaires' disease from the water system in their home, the landlord:

  • May be liable to prosecution under Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA)
  • Would have to demonstrate to a court of law that they had fulfilled their legal duty

Specifically, landlords are obligated to have a risk assessment conducted on their properties followed by subsequent periodic reviews. Provided that the property is low risk (which includes most residential settings including houses or flats with small domestic type water systems where the turnover is high) there is no reason why the landlord should not carry out the risk assessment themselves, provided that they are adequately knowledgeable about the water system in the property. It is advisable for landlords to familiarise themselves with the HSE publications.

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