What is Legionella and why landlords should test for it?

What is Legionella and why landlords should test for it? 

What is Legionella?

Legionella is a harmful pathogenic bacterium that causes pneumonia-like illnesses such as Legionellois and in serious cases, Legionnaires Disease, and although relatively rare in the U.K. around 200-300 people are thought to be affected each year. Those over 50 or with weaker immune systems are more susceptible to infection.

Where does Legionella occur?

Legionella bacteria are most commonly found in man-made water systems, such as air-conditioning units, hot water tanks and whirlpool baths, although they can thrive in any place where water is maintained at a constant temperature.

Legionella can exist in all parts of a water system, including pumps, pipework, shower heads and water tanks.

What are my responsibilities?

As a landlord, you have a legal responsibility to ensure that your tenants are protected from the health risks that bacteria can create, conduct and record risk assessments and introduce measures to reduce the risk of Legionella for your tenants.

At the moment, you can’t get specific certificates or registers to prove Legionella safety. But it’s important you understand the risks and put measures in place to control them.

What is a Legionella Risk Assessment?

All man-made water systems in your property need to be inspected in order to identify the risks and make sure control measures can be put in place. A risk assessment should carefully examine what could cause harm to tenants.

The main steps in the risk assessment process are:

  • Identify the hazards
  • Decide who might be harmed and how
  • Evaluate the risks and implement controls
  • Record your findingS
  • Review your assessment and update if necessary

The Risk Assessment should record the name of the person conducting the assessment and the date the assessment was undertaken, any significant findings and Legionella risks that have been identified, along with control measures and how and when these will be implemented.

The Complete Property Health Check package available now includes a test for Legionella, along with PAT testing and smoke and CO2 detection equipment tests. For further information, contact your property manager or call us on 0203 551 9900.


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