Legionella risk assessment

Supporting information for Scottish Landlord Registration


Key points

Landlords in Scotland must ensure a risk assessment has been carried out to determine the level of risk if any of water in the rental property becoming contaminated with Legionella. The Legionella risk assessment can be carried out by anyone competent to do so, which could be the landlord.

Most rented properties will be low risk, but it is a requirement for landlords to ensure that the risk of exposure to tenants and visitors by Legionella is properly assessed and controlled. This is a legal obligation and is enforced by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

Landlords should visit the HSE website for full information.

Further context

Implementing simple, proportionate and appropriate control measures will ensure the risk of contamination remains low. For most domestic hot and cold-water systems, temperature is the most reliable way of ensuring the risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria is minimised i.e. keep the hot water hot, cold water cold and keep it moving. Other simple control measures to help control the risk of exposure to Legionella include:

  • flushing out the system prior to letting the property
  • avoiding debris getting into the system (e.g. ensure the cold water tanks, where fitted, have a tight fitting lid)
  • setting control parameters (e.g. setting the temperature of the hot water cylinder (calorifier) to ensure water is stored at 60°C)
  • make sure any redundant pipework identified is removed

(Source: HSE website)

The landlord is entitled to expect tenants to play their part in ensure control measures are maintained and should:

  • inform tenants of any potential risk of exposure to Legionella and its consequences
  • tell tenants of any action with arises from the risk assessment if appropriate to do so
  • tell tenants to contact the landlord if the hot water system is not heating properly
  • tell tenants to contact the landlord if the cold-water system is not running cold

Landlords should be aware that the risk of Legionella may increase if the property is unoccupied even for a short time and take appropriate action to maintain a degree of waste flow to minimise the chances of stagnation. For longer periods the landlord should consider draining the system.

For full details of legal responsibilities and control measures landlords should visit the HSE website.

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