Case 357 - Some consultants & letting agents misinterpreting landlords responsibilities regarding legionella risks to their tenants
Some consultants and letting agents are using the revised L8 ACOP to suggest that new legislation has been imposed on landlords of domestic rented properties for managing and controlling the risks of exposure to Legionella bacteria of their tenants. This is wrong, the legislation has not changed and misinformation/misinterpretation can impose unnecessary financial burdens on landlords where they are being charged for legionella testing and certificates they don’t actually need.
- There is a legal duty for landlords to assess and control the risk of exposure to legionella bacteria, but Health and Safety law does not require landlords to produce or obtain, nor does HSE recognise, a ‘Legionnaires testing certificate'.
- Legionella testing (or sampling) is generally not required in domestic hot and cold water systems and then only in exceptional circumstances.
- Misinterpretation of the legal requirements by some consultants and letting agents about landlords’ responsibilities to manage and control legionella in domestic premises may result in unnecessary financial burdens being placed on landlords and tenants.
The law is clear that if you are a landlord and rent out your property (or even a room within your own home) then you have legal responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of your tenant by keeping the property safe and free from health hazards.
Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) makes provision for relevant health and safety legislation to apply to landlords to ensure a duty of care is shown to their tenants’ with regard to their health and safety.
HSE has published guidance for landlords, free to download from HSE’s website:
- Legionella and landlords' responsibilities
- Legionnaires disease FAQ's - As a landlord, what are my duties?
- HSG 274 - Legionnaires’ disease - Part 2: The control of legionella bacteria in hot and cold water systems  - Paragraphs 2.138-2.146