There is a legal duty for landlords to assess and control the risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria.
What is Legionella?
Legionella or "Legionnaires' disease" is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia caused by the inhalation of small droplets of contaminated water containing Legionella. All man-made hot and cold water systems are likely to provide an environment where Legionella can grow. Where conditions are favourable (i.e. suitable growth temperature range; water droplets (aerosols) produced and dispersed; water stored and/or recirculated; some 'food' for the organism to grow such as rust, sludge, scale, biofilm etc) then the bacteria may multiply and increase the risk of exposure. It is a simple fact that the organism will colonise both large and small systems so both require risks being managed effectively.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published further guidance on legionella and landlords’ responsibilities, including answers to common questions and advice on how to carry out legionella risk assessments, which is available here:
Legionella test certificates
Following concerns that some consultants and lettings agents have been wrongly advising landlords that a legionella test certificate is required, the HSE has also released clarification regarding legionella test certificates: