What is Legionella and how is this contracted?

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Legionella is the bacteria which causes legionnaires' disease, this bacteria flourishes in air conditioning and central heating systems, legionaries’ disease is usually caused by inhaling small droplets of contaminated water.


Landlords who provide residential accommodation must assess and control the risk of legionella exposure to tenants to ensure their safety. This requirement stems from the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1989; Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. All water systems must be assessed however this can be completed by the landlord, the risk can be assessed by the individual landlord and does not require an in-depth detailed assessment, nor does this need to be completed by a professionally trained person. However, landlords can arrange for a competent person to carry out the assessment if they do not feel competent to complete this.

Control measures can include:

        Flushing out the water system prior letting the property.

        Avoiding debris getting into the system making sure all cold water tanks have a tight lid.

        Setting control parameters to ensure water is stored at the correct temperature.

        Any unused or redundant pipework to be removed.

For more detailed information on what the law does and does not require of landlords in relation Legionella control, please visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/legionella-landlords-responsibilities.htm


Be informed of any control measures and tell the landlord if problems occur with the water system or if the water is not heating properly

On returning to the property after a period of absence (such as a holiday) tenants should run all taps for at least two minutes to flush the system, tenants should also regularly clean showerheads to reduce the risks.

Further advice is available from the Health & Safety Executive visit: hse.gov.uk/legionnaires

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