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 Neil Radford

23:03 PM, 17th September 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ian Ringrose" at "17/09/2015 - 22:41":

Hi Ian

Yes I feel this is way over the top!! It looks like they have adapted a commercial survey that requires this level of detail. Residential properties only need a relatively straight forward assessment and control systems off the back of the assessment. I've seen a 2 page report which I feel is too little but this is to the other extreme. They do seem to be milking it to charge that amount which is very high! In my opinion!!

by Connie Cheuk

7:31 AM, 18th September 2015, About 6 years ago

I'm attending a one-day course run by Chris (Property 118) on 7th October. Worth the train tickets into London and back. The course fee is extremely reasonable indeed. My properties are minimal risk, combi boiler etc, but if it means typing up a report and informing tenants, so be it.

by Jireh Homes

14:39 PM, 18th September 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Crystal Havard" at "17/09/2015 - 21:40":

Hi Crystal - as a Risk Assessor based up in NE Scotland, the sample report from Green Water Services and many other organisations offering this service is not appropriate for domestic properties, addressing matters not relevant to a domestic installation and not required in order to comply with HSAW & COSHH. Also the fees quoted are far above what any landlord should have to pay. Expect to pay no more than half this figure and sometimes around a third if the local market competitive. There is more to the assessment than some indicate, and landlords can with the necessary education and experience be considered competent, or they can for peace of mind engage a professional who is charging a fair fee.

by S.E. Landlord

15:46 PM, 18th September 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Connie Cheuk" at "18/09/2015 - 07:31":

Hi connive, Mark or Chris

Can you please prove details of company doing these or contact details please.

Thanks

by Connie Cheuk

16:27 PM, 18th September 2015, About 6 years ago

by S.E. Landlord

17:16 PM, 18th September 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Connie Cheuk" at "18/09/2015 - 16:27":

Thanks

by Lee Baines

10:28 AM, 17th October 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Badger " at "18/05/2015 - 17:10":

You are wrong on this Badger, the document states a domestic property is 'low risk' where the water is heated from the mains. It suggests you need to be competent to assess whether Legionella can from at dangerous levels and make someone ill. Are you competent???

by Badger

12:01 PM, 14th November 2015, About 6 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Lee Baines" at "17/10/2015 - 10:28":

I was not wrong at the time but the world has moved on in the six months since I made my original post.

With regard to whether I am competent or not to assess the risk in my rental properties (all of which are fitted with combi-boilers) - yes, I believe I am.

But *BECAUSE* the world has moved on in the interim I am now going to the trouble and expense of getting somebody else's signature on a piece of paper to declare that my water installations are all kosher as I do not have much confidence in courts that would only be interested in whether I held an official certificate of competency (whatever one of those might be in this context) and not whether I was, in actual fact, competent.

The same ridiculous issue of competency is now at play with electrical installations as well. I am an electrical engineer and yes, I *DO* have a certificate to prove that. I have been designing and building safe electrical systems for neigh on forty years now and yet, because I do not possess a particular type of certificate there are circumstances where it is technically illegal for me to perform certain types of electrical work on my own home! And yet I have spent a goodly chunk of my life directing the work of "electricians" who do hold a particular kind of certificate in far more complex scenarios.

Much of this modern mania for certification is a farce and it is very sad indeed that it has been imposed upon us as a result of a few isolated cases of harm.

by Mike Wright

11:46 AM, 16th November 2015, About 6 years ago

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

Finally, the voice of reason! I carry out legionella risk assessments and some sites require microbiological testing for legionella and other waterborne contaminants and others do not; it depends on numerous factors. The phrase "legionella certificate" is completely misleading and inaccurate!

by Sean Higgins

9:38 AM, 11th January 2016, About 6 years ago

If you are responsible for the maintenance of plant such as water tanks and hot water cylinders as a landlord you have a duty to ensure the risk of legionella growth is assessed. If you fail to maintain this plant in accordance with HSE L8 you will be liable to prosecution in the event of an associated case of legionnaires disease.

Water tanks collect sediment that harbours legionella this then multiplies in warm water conditions. If hot water cylinders do not operate at 60oC there is a risk they will not kill the bacteria or will actively multiply the bacteria.

If the tenant is responsible for all maintenance it is their duty. If you maintain the water systems it is your duty.

There is no requirement for sampling or certificates but you do have to assess the risk.

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