Testing water for Legionnaires' disease - what is a landlord's responsibility?

Tap WaterFollowing recent clarification in Health and Safety Executive (HSE) legislation, landlords should by now be aware of their responsibility for ensuring their property’s water supply is safe from the legionella bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease. The legislation applies to every property with a water supply, regardless of what type of boiler or water tank is installed.

What is Legionella?

Legionella is a type of bacteria which can cause a potentially fatal pneumonia-like illness. It can contaminate and grow in domestic hot and cold systems, and the infection is caused by breathing in small droplets of water contaminated by the bacteria.

The bacteria survive low temperatures and thrive at temperatures between 20 and 45 degrees Celsius. It’s killed by high temperatures of 60 degrees Celsius or more.

How is it tested?

The risk assessment process includes a site survey of the water system, during which the assessor must identify whether water is stored or re-circulated as part of the system. Particular areas of risk include water tanks, dead legs, shower heads and/or long runs of pipe work containing warm water. Parts of the system that are used infrequently, such as guest bathrooms, may also be a cause for concern, as well as sources of nutrients such as rust, sludge, scale and organic matters.

How CPS Homes can help

While the risk assessment can be legally completed by any competent person, many buy-to-let landlords prefer to instruct a contractor with full knowledge and understanding of legionella bacteria, thereby ensuring their tenants are not exposed to the risk of the disease.

As the largest property management agency of private rented homes in Cardiff, we’re able to arrange Legionella Risk Assessments at a heavily-discounted price of £42 + VAT due to our buying power with local contractors. We’re also able to;

  • Automatically renew assessments when they’re due to expire;
  • Liaise with both tenant and contractor to ensure access for the assessment to be produced;
  • Keep electronic and hard copies of each assessment;
  • Arrange quick and cost-effective remedial work, if required;
  • Provide the assessment to Cardiff Council and tenants, if and when necessary.

If you’d like to know more about the property management service we offer, or if you’d like to learn more about your legal responsibility as a landlord, please contact us today on 02920 668585 or email lydia.devine@cpshomes.co.uk. As one of Cardiff’s largest estate and lettings agencies, we have the know-how and experience to help with any property-related need!

06 May 2016


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