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Is a Legionella Risk Assessment a Legal Requirement for UK Landlords and Businesses?

Legionella monitoring and control image - displays bacterium, legionella. Water Tank Disinfection. Legionella Dental Equipment.

Is a Legionella Risk Assessment a Legal Requirement for UK Landlords and Businesses?

In the UK, outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease have been linked to rental properties, hotels, offices, and other sites. This has led to questions like “Do landlords have to carry out Legionella tests?” and “Are landlords responsible for Legionella?”

At Pipe Testing Services, we often get these types of questions. We’re here to help guide you through what the legal requirements are when it comes to legionella assessments, and what you can do to meet legionella compliance.

Legionella pneumophila is a potentially deadly bacteria that can contaminate water systems. It thrives in warm water temperatures between 20-50°C. When water droplets containing the bacteria are inhaled, Legionellosis or Legionnaires’ disease can occur. This causes severe pneumonia-like symptoms.

Legionella monitoring and control image - displays bacterium, legionella. Water Tank Disinfection. Legionella Dental Equipment.

    How is Legionella Spread in Buildings?

    In buildings, Legionella bacteria can spread through:

    • Hot water systems and pipes
    • Cooling towers
    • Hot tubs
    • Fountains and water features
    • Air conditioning systems
    • Humidifiers in ventilation systems

    If the bacteria colonises a building’s water supply, people can become infected by:

    • Showering with contaminated water
    • Drinking contaminated water
    • Inhaling water vapour or droplets

    UK Law on Legionella Compliance

    In the UK, health and safety law requires that property owners and managers control the risk of Legionella. The main regulations are:

    The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires employers to ensure the health and safety of employees and visitors. Meaning that legionella compliance is of paramount importance.

    The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002 places a specific duty on landlords and managers to conduct Legionella risk assessments and take control precautions.

    Under this law, any organisation or individual controlling premises with a water system has a legal duty to carry out Legionella risk assessments. Legionella compliance must be met by private landlords, property management firms, facilities managers, and businesses.

    Legal Requirements for Landlords

    The COSHH regulations make it a legal requirement for landlords renting out properties to conduct a Legionella risk assessment. This applies to both commercial and residential rental properties.

    For residential landlords, an assessment of the water systems must be done to adhere to legionella compliance. Usually these need to be completed if any of the following are true.

    • There are hot or cold water storage tanks
    • Any water outlets are prone to infrequent use or stagnation
    • Vulnerable tenants are housed who could contract Legionellosis

    The risk assessment should identify potential Legionella hazards, and precautions landlords must take. Regular reassessments of rented properties are also required at least every 2 years or when significant changes occur to the water system.

    Duties for Businesses and Public Buildings - Legionella Compliance

    The COSHH regulations also create extensive Legionella duties for employers and those in control of public buildings to meet legionella compliance

    Responsible parties must:

    • Appoint a Legionella controller
    • Identify and assess sources of risk
    • Create a Legionella control scheme
    • Implement and manage precautions
    • Keep records

    High-risk businesses like hotels, hospitals, and offices with cooling towers, hot tubs, or spa pools have increased legal duties.

    Can a Plumber Do a Legionella Risk Assessment?

    While a plumber may have useful knowledge of water systems, an official Legionella risk assessment should be carried out by a suitably qualified professional. Organisations such as us, at Pipe Testing Services. We’re qualified Legionella Contractors and can help organise and carry out appropriate precautions, assessments or legionella remedial works.

    For simple domestic water systems, the HSE provides Legionella risk assessment templates. But for most landlords and businesses, professional assessments are recommended to comply with UK law.

    Is a Legionella Risk Assessment a Legal Requirement?

    Health and safety law makes Legionella risk assessments a legal requirement for most landlords and businesses in the UK. Failing to conduct proper assessments, and meet legionella compliance can put occupants at risk and lead to heavy fines or prosecution if Legionellosis outbreaks occur. 

    Using qualified professionals like us, as certified assessors, ensures legal compliance and reduces risk.

    In Need of Legionella Risk Assessment? - Contact Pipe Testing Services Today

    With extensive experience and qualified assessors, Pipe Testing Services ensures no risks are overlooked. We are a fully accredited, nationwide service – our assessments adhere to all health and safety regulations. For a fully compliant, comprehensive Legionella Risk Assessment, contact us today.

    Phone: 01922 451646

    Address: Unit 27 Birchbrook Industrial Estate, Shenstone, Lichfield, Staffs, WS14 0DJ

    Get in touch to discuss your needs or book a consultation. We are committed to delivering reputable, reliable services for safer, compliant water systems. Contact us now for your Legionella Risk Assessment quote.


    The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) can impose fines of up to £20,000 per offence if a Legionella risk assessment is not carried out. The HSE may also issue prohibition notices to shut down premises until an assessment is completed.

    The HSE advises that businesses and landlords review Legionella risk assessments every 2 years and when significant changes are made to water systems. Assessments should also be reviewed after Legionella is detected or after an outbreak occurs.

    Yes, tenants can request to see a copy of the Legionella risk assessment. However, landlords are required by law to have one, so this should not be necessary. Tenants should notify landlords if they have concerns.

    Unfortunately home insurance generally does not cover the cost of Legionella risk assessments. These are considered standard maintenance costs that the property owner or landlord must cover. 

    Cooling towers have been linked to major Legionella outbreaks. However Legionella can also thrive in hot water tanks, pipework, hot tubs, and other water systems. A risk assessment is the only way to identify all potential sources in a building.

    Yes, we operate all over the country – regardless of location. Don’t hesitate to give us a call to see how we can help organise a Legionella Risk Assessment for your property or facility at a competitive and cost-effective price.