Landlords and Legionnaires’
In case you’re not fully acquainted, Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia that particularly affects people already more at risk due to age or health. The bacterium Legionella Pneumophila, which is often present in natural sources of water, can multiply to harmful levels in manmade water systems so it’s important to assess the risk of Legionnaires’ before letting property.
Feedback from our growing landlord base with regard to Legionnaires’ disease and the risks associated has meant that here at VitalSpace, we have implemented a formal procedure to alleviate landlord concerns. There have been recent changes to responsibility in managing the risk of Legionella in properties and as such we are here to assist and mitigate this additional headache.
The concern, in most instances, seems to come from being advised to produce a written Legionella risk assessment from a specialist supplier in the wake of changes to the law.
On the case
Landlords of residential rental properties have a responsibility to combating Legionnaires’ Disease. Health and safety legislation requires that landlords carry out risk assessments for the Legionella bacteria, which cause Legionnaires’ Disease and thereafter maintain control measures to minimise the risk. Most rented premises will be low risk but it is important that risk assessments are carried out. Landlords have always had a duty to assess and manage the risk of Legionella exposure to their tenants and they can now use VitalSpaces’ services to ensure that they are fully supported throughout this process.
So what is your responsibility?
The law has not changed – the simple fact is that landlords who provide residential accommodation have a legal duty to ensure the risk of exposure of tenants to legionella is assessed and controlled. However, in most residential properties where smaller domestic-type water systems are installed and there is regular water usage, a simple assessment may show that there are no real risks from Legionella. This may be carried out as part of a mandatory visit such as gas safety checks or as routine planned maintenance visit. VitalSpace Estate Agents will ensure each step of the process is done in a costly and professional manner. It should be possible for landlords to assess the risk themselves however using our services ensures both an accredited and cost effective method of alleviating any concern.
Advice to our landlords
Our advice is simple. Landlords must carry out a simple, straightforward assessment and where this shows the risks are low, no further action is required. Where a risk is found, the type of action necessary will follow on from the nature of the risk but will normally only require simple control measures, outlined in the guidance at the end of this article. VitalSpace will always recommend to our landlords that they carry out this procedure using a reputable assessment professional whom we are more than happy to arrange. However if our client declines this, then it we may also ask for written confirmation that they intend to deal with the issue themselves to ensure the safety of our tenants.
To understand this process further please click here to visit the HSE for advice on how to conduct a simple risk assessment or obtain help and advice from a consultant or other competent person if you consider it necessary. Alternatively, please contact VitalSpace Estate Agents directly who would be able to provide this service as part of our comprehensive process.
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