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Legionnaires' - property firm says agents and landlords must test regularly

A property management firm is warning letting agents and landlords to fulfil their responsibilities to protect tenants from Legionnaires’ disease.

Despite laws stating all landlords and lettings agents in control of private rented properties should ensure tenants aren’t at the risk of contracting the potentially fatal illness, property management company Ross & Liddell claims many do not test for signs of the disease.

“Risk assessments of water systems within properties should be carried out regularly in order to reduce the risk tenants contracting the disease from water-borne infections. By conducting a risk assessment, landlords will be able to identify areas where conditions could be right for bacteria to flourish” says the firm's lettings manager Ann McMaster.

Under the Health and Safety Executive’s approved code of practice agents and landlords are required to carry out a risk assessment to identify and assess potential sources of exposure and, if a risk is identified, introduce a course of action to prevent or control it.

An agent or landlord can carry out a risk assessment at their own property to identify whether the conditions are right for bacteria to flourish; the code can be found at www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l8.pdf and www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires.

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    All Letting Agents in The UK should contact www.nlic.uk 0131 510 3203.

    They offer a completely FREE service to letting agents as well as a subsidised new income stream and provide an end to end solution to carrying out the risk assessment. Their service is unrivaled and very economical.
    They do not charge for additional call outs to the properties, they manage for letting agents the admin and they are highly flexible.
    Nlic stands for The National Legionella Information Centre.
    They also provide indemnity to letting agents and manage the national at risk register, so well worth contacting them to get this sorted out.

  • Anthony Stevens

    It is not a requirement to "test"


    Hi Ant

    Yes all duty holding letting agents must provide for their landlords a risk assessment. Testing of water is only required if there is a risk.

    I have read the HSE law guidelines about all this and believe me any letting agent wont have the time to carry it all out.

    The other issue coming letting agents way is that tenants have the right to see a risk assessment followed up with the ongoing duty of care and if that is not in place for every property on your books then you could loose your business through legal action.

    See Devon weeks fine for a DevonshireLlandord. The Landlord is now looking to the letting Agent to cover it off as well.

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    So if 'Testing of water is only required if there is a risk.' is it required or not? Most of the places I see have a cold water feed from the water board supply (risk=nil?) straight into a combi boiler for the hot and straight to the taps for cold, (risk=low?) so do I need a full Legionella RA? The managing agents for the building say 'no' so where is the definitive source? For fire and asbestos we need to check the common parts of buildings so will this be the same, ie only checking shared water tanks?


    whilst following up on the links here, thought you may be interested to know that the legionnaires disease is in water and is triggered through heat. The disease can feed off scale and rust and dirt deposits in water tanks. However, it is the system.

    Its also in compost and car window sprays etc (water) So the combi boilers or mains water feeds still means a property must be checked out. If there is sitting water or warm water in the system between 20 and 50 degrees it can trigger the disease. Now
    if you have a risk assessment and walk away then that's not enough to comply with the HSE guidlines and I would urge all reading this to read the guidlines its all in there.

    If those guidlines are not adhered to then a lawyer acting for a tenant can drive a barge through it and you would be at risk of fines and potential prosecution and if you manage x hundreds of properties then you are potentially doubling the risk for yourself.

    Its not all about shared water tanks either although this will need to be seen to by someone.

    This is something that is not sinking in yet.

    Hope this helps.

  • Ralph Butters

    absolute disgrace that you allow mention of nlic.uk on this site. I beleive they have been reported to HSE and trading standards due to the inaccurate (being polite there) information on their site.

    Statements such as : 'HSE exist of fines' (completely untrue)

    lots of bad information on this site

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    Hi Ralph

    No we have checked them out and its true what they say. Dont know about fines re HSE whats more relevant is the need and yes if you re read the HSE Guidlines there is an awful lot in there that needs to be done other than a risk assessment.

    Refer to HSE Guidlines scope and application of works. read this lot and you will be able to see that its more complicated than you may think.

    Nlic are a good outfit and come recommended.

    Best of luck

  • Ralph Butters

    well, after all the chat on other sites about nlic they decide to try and do a website re hash and then we get Peters quote above.

    Well, just a few things you missed in your rehash.

    1.If you have been or a victim of this terrible disease call NLICs victims phone line.
    (what is this number?)

    2. Or email us on victimlegionella.com and let us know your story.
    victimlegionella.com ? this does not exist!?

    3. Please refer to the following law firms who have support services for you.
    (which law firms are these? there are non there!?)

    The big one on your site....

    "When the bacteria is swallowed in low concentration, it usually passes through the system without adverse effect, but in some cases people can have flu-like symptoms, diarrhoea and vomiting."

    Promoting yourself as experts? You should know that you become infected with legionella by breathing in tiny droplets of water NOT by swallowing the water ! YOU REALLY SHOULD KNOW THIS !

    Glad to help you get it right. I note the comment about HSE existing of fines has been removed. I will be checking for any further inaccuracies and letting you know.


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