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 Luke P

23:04 PM, 27th July 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Walker" at "27/07/2015 - 21:24":

From everything I've understood on this thread, a blanket approach is not possible (even if they all have combo boilers).

Could one of the HSE commenters confirm whether John's approach would be considered acceptable...?

by Jireh Homes

8:07 AM, 28th July 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Luke P" at "27/07/2015 - 23:04":

It may, depending on how John has carried out and documented the Risk Assessment and met the associated requirements. In summary these are:
1.RA to be carried out by competent person.
2.Take action to prevent or control risks from legionella..
3.Inform tenants of the risks of legionella and their obligations
4.Review the risk assessment on a regular basis
5.Manage the risk from legionella.

by Luke P

9:33 AM, 28th July 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Jireh Homes" at "28/07/2015 - 08:07":

I'd hate to put words in his mouth and I'm sure John will be back shortly to comment, but I imagine that he's not actually left his office to properly assess each individual property, but rather has made the decision, knowing that all the properties have combi boilers, to apply a single blanket approach...the way I (and I suspect most other landlords) would want to deal with this legislatory ball-ache.

I do have a couple of questions -who is considered a competent person (besides an expert)...the landlord themselves, assuming no formal training? Also, what would be an example of 'action' in preventing or controlling risks from legionella?

by Connie Cheuk

14:55 PM, 28th July 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Alex Sammut - ISAC UK Ltd" at "20/05/2015 - 11:49":

Thank you for this detailed explanation. As I was asked to pay £100 plus vat per property by my estate agents who would contact a company they use. I rather wanted to attend a course and conduct the risk assessment myself and create a leaflet to leave with the tenant, advising how to minimise risk, for example running the taps after being away on holiday, etc. I do want to look into improving my competency so I am able to identify risks myself.

by Michael Barnes

16:06 PM, 28th July 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "John Walker" at "27/07/2015 - 21:24":

To do a risk assessment you need to identify where all the hot and cold water pipework goes, and ensure that there is no pipework that does not get a regular flow (e.g.'spur' for a washing machine but no washing machine fitted). If any such is present, then it will need to be removed or managed.

It should also be noted that any shower head is a risk and needs to be managed.

As for reviewing the risk assessment, it seems to me that if there is no change to the plumbing, then that is the review done, so the cost of a risk assessment should be a one-off event.

by Jireh Homes

18:26 PM, 28th July 2015, About 7 years ago

Agree that the Risk Assessment may be a one off exercise, so long as the findings are such that no remedial action is recommended from the observations and the risk may be managed with a clearly defined control programme. This is not always the case as sometimes there is work which should be carried out e.g. cleaning out the CW header tank, removing long dead legs. However there remains an on-going obligation to check the Risk Assessment is still valid, which may then be carried out with someone who is aware of the very basics and documented with a check box on say the regular inspection reports or in-go Inventory and Check-in Report.

by Chris Best

17:47 PM, 30th July 2015, About 7 years ago

Alex, that's an excellent summary, many thanks

by Neil Radford

21:27 PM, 15th September 2015, About 6 years ago

Hello

A Legionella Testing Certificate isnt required. However, a Legionella Risk Assessment is. I suspect thats what these agents are talking about.

I concur with Alex above as he did train me in this anyway!!

by Crystal Havard

21:40 PM, 17th September 2015, About 6 years ago

Hi

This has been an interesting thread to follow. We've had our agent tell us we need to get a Legionnaires risk assessment done; and surprise surprise they can arrange it for £150 (can't remember if that included VAT or not).

Having done a bit of research on it, I came to the conclusion we could do it ourselves UNTIL we found a sample report by a company called "Green Water Services".

Their sample report is at this link.
http://www.greenwaterservices.co.uk/SampleRiskAssessment.pdf

The report seems pretty comprehensive, yet based on some of the discussions here seems very over the top for a self contained domestic letting.

I'd be interested in here from the experts in the field as to whether this is required level of detail or whether this is simply over the top to justify the fees involved.

My understanding (at its simplest) was that the risk assessment simply needed to look at the system, check that the temperatures met the criteria at exit points and that an action log was provided to the tenant to ensure they regularly cleaned taps, shower heads and the like.

by Ian Ringrose

22:41 PM, 17th September 2015, About 6 years ago

If you don't have ANY water tanks, then it is easy to do your own risk assessment. A lot of BTL properties have no water tanks.


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