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All the Information You Need on Legionella Certificates as a Landlord

As a landlord, you may have heard about or been told that you require a Legionella certificate to complete certain actions. As a team of professionals accredited by CHAS, Constructionline, and SafeContractor, and with technicians who are members of the Legionella Control Association, we are confident we can help you learn all you need to know. 

Here, we have provided a guide on everything you need to know about the term “Legionella certificates”, and what you are responsible for providing as a landlord to your tenants so you can reduce Legionella risk.

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    What is a Legionella Certificate?

    While you may have heard of needing a Legionella certificate as a particular requirement for certain actions to take place, there is officially no such thing as a Legionella certificate. Any document called by this name would not be recognised by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and there is no legal requirement for landlords or property owners of any size to obtain or create one.

    However, the law is clear that landlords have a legal responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their tenants by keeping the property safe and free of health hazards.

    What is a Legionella Certificate?

    While landlords have a legal duty to assess the risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria for the safety of tenants, this does not have to be an in-depth or detailed assessment. The risks from domestic hot and cold water systems are generally low, because of regular water usage and turnover in the system. A simple assessment may show that there are no real risks and that the site is being properly managed, meaning no further action is needed. The assessment should then be reviewed at a later date in case anything in the system changes.

    Implementing simple control measures will control the risk. For most domestic water systems, the temperature is the most reliable way to keep the risk of Legionella bacteria exposure minimal. This means ensuring that hot water is kept hot, cold water is kept cold, and all water is kept moving through the system.

    Other simple, proportionate, and appropriate measures to help control the risk of exposure include:

    • Flushing out the system before letting the property
    • Preventing debris from getting into the system (for example, by ensuring that cold water tanks are fitted with tight-fitting lids wherever possible)
    • Setting control parameters (for instance, setting the temperature of the hot water cylinder (calorifier) to ensure water is stored at 60°C)
    • Ensuring redundant pipework is removed

    The risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria is lowered further when instantaneous water heaters (such as combi boilers and electric showers) are installed because there is no water storage.

    What Tenants Need to Know

    According to the HSE, tenants should be advised of any control measures put in place that should be maintained. For example, if they should not adjust the temperature setting of the calorifier, or if they should regularly clean showerheads. Tenants should also inform their landlord if hot water is not heating properly or there are other problems with the system. This ensures that appropriate action can be taken.

    Where showers are installed, these have the means of creating and dispersing water droplets (also known as “aerosols”) that can then be inhaled. In doing so, these create a foreseeable risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria. If used regularly, as in the case of most domestic settings, the risks are reduced, but tenants should be advised to regularly clean and disinfect showerheads. Instantaneous electric showers pose less of a risk because they are generally cold water-fed and only heat small volumes of water during operation.

    Do I Need a Legionella Certificate for Anything?

    Some landlords have reported being asked to provide Legionella certificates as a condition of being taken on by a letting agent. But as these certificates do not exist and no physical piece of paper that claims to be a Legionella certificate would be recognised by the HSE, there is a question of whether or not these letting agents are being completely professional with landlords.

    Legionella risk assessments are legal requirements in these cases. These are mandatory, so they must be carried out, but having them completed by a professional is not a legal requirement. This means that a landlord can do the risk assessment themselves instead of hiring a professional to do it for them.

    Most landlords will not need to be trained or accredited to carry out a Legionella risk assessment for their properties. This is because the actions required are often straightforward enough that compliance does not need to be overly complicated or costly. However, if an individual does not feel competent enough to carry one out, they can hire a specialist.

    A woman wearing a face mask and cover

    A Legionella risk assessment is a comprehensive series of checks combined with a thorough inspection of a property’s water systems. They are used to identify potential risks of Legionella bacteria within buildings, premises, and facilities. Findings taken from these checks and inspections will help to determine what interventions (if any) are required. This will in turn advise what actions need to be taken to ensure compliance with health and safety regulations, reduce the risk of Legionella and Legionnaires’ disease, and secure peace of mind.

    Why Hire a Specialist?

    While hiring a specialist to carry out a Legionella risk assessment is not a legal requirement for landlords, it is usually strongly recommended. This ensures that the work is carried out to the highest standard by a competent person. Minimising the risk of Legionella bacteria growing and spreading on a property is paramount, and ensuring that an experienced and qualified professional is doing the work is the most effective way of doing this.

    Booking a Risk Assessment With Us

    If you need a reliable, experienced team of specialists to help you with full Legionella compliance and total peace of mind, contact Guardian Hygiene Services today. Our fully-accredited technicians are based throughout the UK and are ready to provide a list of Legionella services, guaranteeing safety in commercial and domestic settings.

    Whether you own rental properties, hostels, or are part of a housing cooperative, you will find our services offer all you need. We will take you through every step of the process. This means you will never have to worry about what to do to reduce risk or see that risk become a reality. 

    Fill in one of our forms for more information and a quote or call us for these today.

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