Legionella scaremongering by some letting agents debunked

Legionella scaremongering by some letting agents debunked

14:30 PM, 18th May 2015, About 7 years ago 80

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For months now I have been fending off veiled and not so veiled threats from ill-informed letting agents about the consequences of not shelling out for legionella tests.

I have directly engaged several letting agents on their attempts to make landlords feel as though they are committing a crime against humanity unless immediately cave and hand over handfuls of cash.

So, as a service to landlords, I offer the following Health and Safety Executive directive at the bottom of this article

Next time you get one of those threatening letters from an agent just point them to that.

Hopefully it will stop the requests without having to raise your blood pressure too much trying to explain the realities to an agent that simply doesn’t have a clue on the subject themselves anyway.

Badger

Case 357 – Consultants and Letting Agents misinterpreting the risks of exposure to legionella of their tenants

Issue

Consultants and letting agents are i) using the revised L8 ACOP to infer there is new legislation regarding landlords responsibilities and ii) misrepresenting what the law requires of landlords of domestic rented properties in relation to assessing and controlling the risks of exposure to Legionella bacteria of their tenants, for financial gain.

Panel opinion

Health and Safety law does not require landlords to produce a ‘Legionnaires testing certificate’. Legionella testing is required only in exceptional circumstances and generally not in domestic hot and cold water systems. Such letting agents and consultants are scaremongering landlords, for financial gain, by misinterpreting and exaggerating the legal requirements to manage and control legionella in domestic premises.Legionella

HSE has published guidance for landlords, free to download from HSE’s website:

http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/faqs.htm – As a landlord, what are my duties?

http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/hsg274part2.pdf



Comments

by Alex Sammut - ISAC UK Ltd

14:55 PM, 6th July 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Scott 44 " at "01/07/2015 - 18:34":

Hi Scott44, Just to confirm,

"Aqua b are carrying out the risk assessments in line with the legislation to ensure that agents, and landlords, are compliant"

Is that by simply completing a risk assessment for a property or is that by actually offering a set of recommendations for any improvements on the existing system followed up by a written scheme of control?

I wouldn't want you, and others, to think that by simply getting the risk assessment 'done' then that is the job done. Compliance will be a process of maintaining the quality of the water in the system and also the existing control measures throughout time.

I'm sure that this is part of Aqua B's package and/or that you are aware of this already but I thought that I would just mention it just in case. Thanks
Alex

by Luke P

10:43 AM, 7th July 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Alex Sammut - ISAC UK Ltd" at "06/07/2015 - 14:55":

What a load of hassle. If it is not made simple enough (tick box form), it won't be adopted in any great numbers regardless of penalty.

by Anon 44

15:57 PM, 7th July 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Alex Sammut - ISAC UK Ltd" at "06/07/2015 - 14:55":

Hi Alex. The package is the risk assessment, tenant notice detailing risk management measures they must practice, remedial action in order to control risk, centralised records of assessments and action and yearly reviews to make sure that control measures are still in place.
There are so many conflicting opinions on what is necessary to be compliant. We know the legislation doesn't stop at just a risk assessment. It'll be the same old issue that if nothing ever happens HSE won't check and some LL & letting agents will have never taken any action but if someone does contract Legionella then they'll come down on us like a tonne of bricks!
I have to say that after hours of research we have tried to be as diligent as possible but it is not made very clear to the layman and is open to interpretation.

by Luke P

16:28 PM, 7th July 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Scott 44 " at "07/07/2015 - 15:57":

If someone contracts Legionella, the LL will be in for it no matter what measures you take...there'll always be a HSE do-gooder that will say more could have been done (if not, then how come this person is sat here actually with Legionnaire)?

by Anon 44

16:53 PM, 7th July 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "07/07/2015 - 16:28":

So true Luke....even worst if the tenants don't play their part. The measures to control risk require tenant cooperation and you can never guarantee that. The LL could do everything possible to control risk but the tenant could end up contracting it through their own actions or inaction.

by Luke P

17:00 PM, 7th July 2015, About 7 years ago

I know a few other landlords in my area that never get involved with 'nonsense' like this. They never listen to the council or follow all the rules and when I ask if they are not bothered about the penalties, they tell me that they just see it as a 'tax' IF they are hit with a fine and go around with virtually a care in the world! Whilst I'd never do something similar, I can see their thinking -nobody seems to check anything in this industry. Most legislation appears to be there just to hand someone the blame when it goes wrong and even when you have complied fully, you'll still be blamed anyway.

Half the agents in my town are not with a redress scheme. I know (and have reported) LL for no GSC/EPC etc. No-one cares.

by John Walker

11:52 AM, 22nd July 2015, About 7 years ago

Response to post from Alex Sammut.
Hi Alex,
Yes all the boilers are Worcester Combis, with outlets to taps and showers. I shall take your advice and issue a very simple guidance on Legionella and measures to be taken to reduce the admittedly very low risk of contamination even further.

Many thanks,

John

by Rob Crawford

15:49 PM, 22nd July 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Walker" at "22/07/2015 - 11:52":

John, it's worth reading the guidance to landlords on the HSE website. They clearly define what is required for a valid risk assessment. I don't think what you propose covers their requirements.

by Luke P

9:28 AM, 23rd July 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Rob Crawford" at "22/07/2015 - 15:49":

And this is precisely why this legislation is worthless.

Here is someone attempting to play by the rules using a common sense approach and they're still wrong.

Nobody is enforcing legislation that is more serious than this, so legionella falls way down the list of priorities for most.

by J C

16:02 PM, 27th July 2015, About 7 years ago

Dear Alex and All, Sorry if I appear dense. But can somebody just clearly state if all rented residential properties must have a Legionella risk assessment or not.

I have read all the posts and understand that if you have a risk assessment done then you must follow the guidelines stated in the report to reduce the risk etc etc for it to be valid.

So if anybody knows 100% can you please just tell me Yes or No!

All properties that have gas appliances need an annual gas safety inspection, so is this the same thing for the water supply? I understand it appears to be biannual for the inspection, but I would expect from what I have read that you (as a landlord or agent) would be expected to carry out some form of interim checks.

Please help as I am confused, and simply want to take the correct path of action.


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