OpenRent Community

Legionella checks


#1

This is my favourite subject! Hardly any of my landlord friends have ever even heard of the need for these, and I don’t recall seeing it on here. Yet I think it was Tessa S who alerted me. It’s unlikely to be a problem in a small house/flat where pipe lengths are short, but you still have to have done a risk assessment and hand over the results to the tenant, plus instructions for descaling the showerhead! Since it means crawling in the unfloored loft I had to get a specialist to do mine - most plumbers had never heard of it either!! £100 I paid, and I’ve yet to find anybody else who has done it - any takers?


#2

I first heard of Legionella checks yesterday when I was arranging an EPC. The EPC man offered to do a Legionella check at the same time. I have to say I was surprised to have been asked. He went on to say that they are not a legal requirement but some agencies such as Belvoir are insisting on them so I guess if you’re using OpenRent it shouldn’t be an issue.

The HSE website says “Health and safety law does NOT require landlords to obtain, produce nor does HSE recognise a ‘Legionella test certificate’.” Full web page here http://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/legionella-landlords-responsibilities.htm

If you have an immersion heater or a cold water header tank you might want to get a test after a void period but otherwise weekly flushing of your system and taps seems to be adequate action according to the HSE.


#3

Thanks Keiran. I was spooked by reading that IF a tenant went down with Legionnaires and you hadn’t done a test, you would be liable! Not sure where I read that now. I’ve ended up with a lot of photos of dusty bits of piping, overalls and thermometers in the dark, and the prized (unnecessary) certificate!!


#4

Hi both, OpenRent sent me some guidance on Legionella checks a while ago. I can’t remember precisely what it recommended, but I just did the checks myself and, while a small hassle, I saved myself the money and went for a meal out instead! To be quite frank, many landlords are somewhat behind on the law and are quite at risk of either being caught out when in the process of evicting a tenant, at which point they discover they needed to serve the Prescribed Information but failed to do so, or are fleeced by a High Street Agent who feeds them scare stories to extort hundreds of pounds for relatively uncomplicated tasks.

Glad to be with OpenRent now!


#5

Totally agree Katherine81. It isn’t a simple matter to stay up to date, and with maybe only one property, owners haven’t thought of it as something which needed as much attention as it clearly now does! I can see landlord registration coming in -sadly - because it will cost in time and money, but it would ensure that at least guidance was received with each new bit of legislation.


#6

You should never try doing a legionella test yourself, you need an expert. It must be difficult in flats but if they are council owned then a Legionella check I believe is down to the council to arrange to have done. Also schools get experts in. Im not sure if you lived in a flat how you would flush your own system through ??? would like to no though. As for cleaning your shower head use a descaler , just soak over night, but soak in an old bucket, safer that way. & rinse well before use. Perhaps a Legionella check is something a Landlord should do as well as yearly Gas checks & also Electrical checks


#7

Hi Mairebeazley, I think initial check does need a professional. Thereafter if nothing has changed, water used constantly and tenants informed re vacant periods and the showerhead cleaning you mention, I think you can do a risk assessment checking water temperatures and make sure it’s documented. It definitely needs to be more high profile, especially after void periods.


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#8

It is not at the moment legally essential to get a certificated legionella test done, but it IS legally essential to do periodic legionella assessments.

You can do it yourself (I believe there is a testing kit that can be bought for about £30) but obviously it’s more competently done by someone who has taken and passed the ‘legionella testing course’.

A proper letting agency can arrange this for you, but the better letting agent will have a staff member who has trained to do the tests and assessments and so can arrange it in-house and obviously save the costs of outsourcing it to a specialist firm.

For in-depth info on the matter, check out the relevant sections of the HSE website.

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


#9

Thank you Sally , that’s good to no


#10

I will say the risk should be assessed by someone competent to do so. In most domestic properties the risks will be small and not require any elaborate control measures but should be re-assessed if anything changes. Landlords should at least be doing the following:

■ flushing out the system before letting the property;
■ avoiding debris getting into the system (eg ensure the cold water tanks, where fitted, have a tight-fitting lid);
■ setting control parameters (eg setting the temperature of the calorifier to ensure water is stored at 60 °C);
■ making sure any redundant pipework identified is removed;
■ advising tenants to regularly clean and disinfect showerheads.