Legionella Risk Assessment – I wasn’t aware!

Legionella Risk Assessment – I wasn’t aware!

11:48 AM, 30th September 2015, About 6 years ago 31

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How many of us is aware of this new regulation?Legionella
I have to say I was totally unaware until I received this email from my LA. The safety of my tenants are paramount to me, but I feel dumb that I never read about this on any of the forums

Re: LEGAL WATER HYGIENE CONTROL – IMPORTANT NOTICE from the Health & Safety Executive

We write to inform you of new legislation issued by the Health and Safety Executive in respect of Legionnaires disease. This legislation requires that all rented property is compliant and a legionella risk assessment undertaken.

This is a new legal requirement under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 concerning the risk from exposure to Legionella and compliance with the relevant parts of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. This has now been extended to include rental properties and, as your managing agents, we can be held equally responsible with you as ‘joint duty-holder’. We have a legal obligation to comply with current legislation including carrying out Legionella Risk Assessments, just like gas and electrical safety checks, to ensure the safety of your tenant, occupiers, contractors and staff who visit the property on a regular basis e.g. carrying out inspections.

The fines being imposed for non-compliance can amount to as much as £20,000 for each offence and can potentially include a criminal record. We are also aware that organizations such as Shelter and Help the Aged are paying particular attention to this law to protect tenants’ rights in this area.

It is important that matters relating to tenant’s health and safety are not overlooked. You may find that your insurance as a Landlord now includes a requirement for this and that effective control measures need to be in place.

We have appointed Nlic to carry out this specialist service due to their service providing an annual ongoing duty of care procedure in this area and manage the UK At Risk register of non-compliant properties. They will undertake a full risk assessment and look at all risk areas, taking measures to look for every form of bacteria. Nlic provide full indemnity cover to you and us as the duty holders in a court of law. This firm is a not for profit organization and specialize in working to uphold all aspects of the law for HSE setting industry standards.

What is included in the service package is an end to end risk assessment including the necessary ongoing duty of care throughout the year with tenant and landlord information packs site visits and records maintenance, removal from the at risk register, replacement water tanks and shower heads should there be a deemed risk, no additional charge for no show site visits such as a tenant not being in at time of arranged visit, support in the event of a legal case for legionella illness.
(there are 240 strands of illness)
We are arranging for risk assessments to take place from the 12th of October 2015. The cost of this annual service is £125 plus vat per year per property. Unless we hear from you to the contrary, we will instruct them on your behalf and the cost will show on your next monthly statement of account, if we do not collect your rental on your behalf we will not go ahead unless payment has been received.

You do have the right to decline this service, but we strongly recommend that you allow us to put it into place. To not have these checks carried out will leave you fully liable for the consequences without any form of indemnity whatsoever against the fines and other consequences referred to above. We as your managing agents would not remain liable if you choose to decline this service – but unfortunately the liability will rest with yourself.

If we do not hear from you within seven days from the date of this letter we will proceed to arrange the risk assessment of your property, on your behalf.

We would like to thank you for your understanding and co-operation in this matter and assure you we are acting in your best interest, so that this compliance is met. For your peace of mind, you will receive a full report for your records and we will also keep a record in our files ready for any possible adhoc inspection by the HSE and/or possible tenant litigation in the future.

Finally, please be aware that this legislation is nothing to do with your local council, it originated from H.M. Government’s Health and Safety Executive and the law governing this is enforceable by them.

Antony

Editors Note:

Please see our previous articles –

Legionella scaremongering by some letting agents debunked

and

Legionnaires Disease – Landlords responsibilities



Comments

by Joe Bloggs

9:32 AM, 1st October 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "eileen grace" at "30/09/2015 - 15:07":

i clean with white vinegar. very effective.

by Neil Radford

9:17 AM, 3rd October 2015, About 6 years ago

First of all, I find that letter from the LA very threatening and just plain wrong! Also, in my opinion DO NOT USE NLIC!! They have been reported several times and virtually all their info is wrong or skewed. There is no "non compliance register"!! What a load of toss. Made up to scare you. The price of £125+vat is a lot and you don't need an annual check either. You need it reviewed whenever there is a change in the system or its use. Best practice would be every 2 years if no change has occurred.
ALL RENTAL PROPERTIES NEED A RISK ASSESSMENT! Please go to the HSE website and you will see this. There is no "I'm not a business" opt out. If you have hot and cold water in the house, you need one. End of.

I'll be happy to take any questions etc. Best info is from the horses mouth at HSE website.

by

9:40 AM, 3rd October 2015, About 6 years ago

I agree with Neil's comments,
Landlords can ( if they are competent to do so, ) carry out the necessary HSE obligations on most Rental properties and can learn this in a half day course for a fraction of the cost of a companies Risk Assessment.

see http://www.landlordsmasterclass.com

by Allan Mazey

11:52 AM, 3rd October 2015, About 6 years ago

Neil's comment is spot on.

Also be aware that a half day course may not produce the competency to risk assess correctly. Remember this is not a box ticking ecercise, it is protection of people's well-being.
Best to engage a respected company @ circa £75.00 for a domestic type property (£35.50 per annum) and sleep well at night.

by

14:20 PM, 3rd October 2015, About 6 years ago

Allan,
You are very much correct, as I have observed a half day course that didn't achieve such Competence.
which is one of the reasons I've created Landlordsmasterclass, which DOES.

I am however clear on the boundaries of such Competence, as defined by H&S@Work Act and in a minority of Residential premises, the merit of engaging an external report is advisable.
Chris http://www.landlordsmasterclass.com

by safetylady silver

16:16 PM, 3rd October 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Neil Radford" at "03/10/2015 - 09:17":

The L8 Approved Code of Practice (which, by the way, has been around for years) applies to anyone with duties under CoSHH or indeed the Health & Safety at Work Act. These are: employers, employees, and people in charge of premises which are used for work activities.
If you are not 'at work' H&S legislation does not apply – logical?
Paras 15 & 16 of L8 do explain this fully. It is unfortunate that Para 2 starts off by summarising the audience of dutyholders by including "eg. landlords" without clarification. The actual legal definition of dutyholder comes two pages later. There has to be a "work" connection, as it is H&S AT WORK.
Simple landlords like myself are not included because there is no employer, nor is my property used for work activities. I am not ‘in business’, I do not pay NI nor am I registered as self-employed, but I do complete the HMRC tax schedule for my property income. As we are all finding out, the government do not see property rental (in simple terms) as a business, it is treated as an investment.
That is not to say you cannot set up as a business for property rental – but then you get the worst of all worlds – all business legislation applies (including Health & Safety) AND the government want to tax you differently to any other business!
And yes, the NLIC site / company is a disgrace, I have never seen so much tosh and scaremongering hype. I too have complained to the HSE about it, although there is nothing they can actually do.

by Ralph Butters

16:32 PM, 3rd October 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "safetylady silver" at "03/10/2015 - 16:16":

safetylady silver

I am sorry but you are wrong.

As a landlord renting out property you are running a business. Your tenant is your customer.

it is clearly stated at hse.gov.uk

by Ralph Butters

16:39 PM, 3rd October 2015, About 6 years ago

From http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/legionella-landlords-responsibilities.htm

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.

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. The general duties require under section 3(2) that "It shall be the duty of every self-employed person to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that he and other persons (not being his employees) who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.". Landlords, under Section 53 of HSWA are regarded as being self-employed and tenants fall into the class of “other persons (not being his employees)”. If you rent out a property, you have legal responsibilities to ensure you conduct your undertaking in such a way that your tenant(s) are not exposed to health and safety risks.

by

18:03 PM, 3rd October 2015, About 6 years ago

Ralph,
You are right, Silver lady is wrong, ( although she did make me chuckle. )
Chris

by Antony Antoniou

10:05 AM, 4th October 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ralph Butters" at "03/10/2015 - 16:39":

Hi Ralph & Chris
I contacted Nlic to clarify a few points and spoke to Mr Ian Hallifax - Head of Training
The points I wanted clarification on were
1) If this is a new legislation, why has it not been in the press or on the forums?
2) Are the investors the primary responsible for the risk assessment or are the Letting agents ultimately responsible for it on fully managed property or are the jointly responsible.
3) Are you aware that Nlic are getting such bad comments on the forums recently, and why do you not clarify your position and respond to the negativity?
4) Are you making contact with the letting agencies and promoting your company?
5) Can you justify the cost 0f £125 + vat that my LA has quoted,
6) You informed me that the Nlic Company is a year old, how are you going to fully Indemnity me and the LA?
I am not going to quote his response to me as I believe he should be given the opportunity to respond on the forum directly as I gave him the site details

I myself intend to have the risk assessment carried out for the safety of my tenants, but there is a massive grey area as to who is truly responsible for the cost, see the point below taken from Nlic own hand out. So Safety Lady Silver may be correct
“Tenants when they understand their rights they will pursue the Landlords and the Landlords can pursue the Letting Agents”

• Legionnaires Disease exists in all water systems
• Tenants do not understand the disease
• It kills more people in the UK than cyclists (122 died cycling in Britain 2012)
• The government spent millions on cycle paths and routes
• However Tens of thousands get ill but do not die of the disease
• Tenants when they understand their rights they will pursue the Landlords and the Landlords can pursue the Letting Agents
• So Why is Nlic needed? Why Bother?
• Because we care about people and their health.
• We care about the conditions tenants live in and
• We care about Letting Agents and Landlords
• We care that it costs the tax payer tens of millions of pounds in lost work time and
• Waiting times in hospitals and surgery’s can be reduced with our effort
• We care that other service providers do not provide the passionate service this industry needs


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