Legionnaires Disease FAQ
What is Legionnaires Disease?
Legionnaires is a pneumonia like illness caused by the Legionella bacteria, which can be fatal. Legionella bacteria are widespread in rivers, lakes and water systems where the temperature of the water is such as to encourage growth of the bacteria, e.g. a hot water system. People can catch the disease by inhaling small droplets of water which may be suspended in the air and contain the bacteria. Stored and recirculated water is a particular risk.
Who is responsible?
Where a property is under full management by a professional agent, then clearly the agent has responsibility for meeting these legal requirements. However, where the landlords is managing the property him or herself, then the landlords takes on that responsibility along with all the other legal requirements such as annual gas checks.
What must be done with regard to Legionella risk within a rental property?
Landlords and/or their managing agents have a legal duty to assess the risk level of legionella within their rental properties. This has always been the case but until now has often been mistakenly neglected or misunderstood.
What is a Legionella Risk Assessment?
A Legionella Risk Assessment involves assessing the property to see if there is a 'RISK' of legionella forming in the water system. Legislation states that landlords need to have a “competent person” undertake a risk assessment and identify if there are areas in which the legionella bacteria is likely to develop within their rental property. This is a ‘living document’ that can demonstrate efforts to identify and minimise the risk within a property. A comparison could be made to a car MOT – like a car MOT, a Legionella Risk Assessment looks at the property on a regular basis and identifies potential problems.