Landlords of residential accommodation have always had a responsibility to ensure that the property they rent out is free from the bacteria Legionella which cause Legionnaires’ Disease. However, health and safety legislation, as set by the Health and Safety Executive, now requires landlords to carry out a risk assessment on their rental property, to identify areas which are at risk from developing the bacterium and therefore minimise the risk of tenants contracting the disease.
Most rented premises will be at low risk but it is important that a risk assessment is carried out and control measures are introduced if required. As members of the Council of Letting Agents, through the Scottish Association of Landlords, we are following their advice and guidance on what this means to Landlords and to us as Letting Agents.
The risk assessment will:
• Establish how the property gets its hot and cold water supply;
• Measure water temperature of the hot and cold water system within the property. Legionella bacteria requires a range of between 20 – 50 degrees centigrade to multiply.
• Check for silt, debris, scale, and rust in the water system, as the bacteria can feed from these deposits.
• Identify stagnant water in any area of the water system
• Check whether there are any outlets which are not frequently used, for example showers or taps in second bathrooms.
The Health & Safety Executive have an Approved Code of Practice and Guidance as regards Legionnaires Disease. The Code can be found at the following webpage: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l8.pdf