legionella risk assessment

Legionella and landlords’ responsibilities



Legionnaires’ disease

Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing Legionella. All man-made hot and cold water systems are likely to provide an environment where Legionella can grow. Where conditions are favourable (ie suitable growth temperature range; water droplets (aerosols) produced and dispersed; water stored and/or recirculated; some ‘food’ for the organism to grow such as rust, sludge, scale, biofilm etc) then the bacteria may multiply thus increasing the risk of exposure.  It is a simple fact that the organism will colonise both large and small systems so both require risks to be managed effectively.


What is a landlord?

A landlord is anyone who rents out a property they own under a lease or a licence that is shorter than seven years.  Landlords’ duties apply to a wide range of accommodation, occupied under a lease or a licence, which includes but not exclusively, residential premises provided for rent by:

• local authorities

• housing associations

• private sector landlords

• housing co-operatives

• hostels


The law and you

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.

Your duties – what you need to do

As an employer, or someone responsible for the control of premises (including landlords) you should ensure you:

• know what you must do to comply with the law

• reviewing what you do

• landlords’ responsibilities


Are there Legionella risks in my workplace?

There may be a risk of exposure to Legionella if your workplace or premises has one of the following:

• a cooling tower or evaporative condenser

• dry/wet cooling systems (sometimes referred to as hybrid or adiabatic coolers)

• hot and cold water systems

• spa pools

• other potential risk systems