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Legionella compliance and risk assessments for rental properties

Legionella risk assessments for residential and rental properties

Landlords are familiar with gas and electrical health and safety - but what about water hygiene safety?


Legionella bacteria can be fatal, so managing risks are part of a landlord's legal duty of care. The good news is, staying compliant can be easy when you get the right help.

Any water system in a rental property should be assessed regularly. This is called a Legionella risk assessment. A water system might include pipes, water storage tanks, showers, sinks and toilets. Your Legionella risk assessment is the starting point and informs the rest of your Legionella compliance and risk management.

Legionella risks might include stagnant water, lack of regular water flow, or poor maintenance of tanks and pipework. Legionella risk assessments will be specific to each rental property. Read more about Legionella risk assessments here.

Legionella risk assessments for rental properties should be carried out at least every two years. 

Are your Legionella risk assessments due? Let us know

What measures do landlords need to take to manage Legionella?

It’s normally the landlord’s obligation to arrange regular Legionella risk assessments. See the FAQ section on this page for when this might not be the case.


Each Legionella risk assessment will be specific to the water system in that rental property. It could require no action, or some action might be needed. 

What does that actually look like?

If you have a well-maintained system then you may not need to take any action at all.  A well-maintained system will contain:

  • no redundant pipework, 

  • a combi-boiler,

  • temperatures within a safe range to limit the growth of Legionella bacteria. 

If you have an older system with hot or cold water tanks, then there you may need to take some action. This might include

  • ensuring your water tanks are sealed from vermin or other debris,

  • disinfecting a tank if it needs cleaning,

  • setting specific water temperatures,

  • running the water system regularly if it is not in use.

If you have excessive pipework then you may be advised to simplify your water system to reduce risk from Legionella. 

For every rental property, the risks may be different. It's important to get it right.

The quickest and easiest way to stay Legionella compliant is to work with a Legionella expert. 

Working with an experienced Legionella expert gives you the confidence that the Legionella risk assessment for your rental property is fully compliant. It also means you don’t have to wrap your head around the various acts and regulations. 

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A Legionella risk assessment is not just a piece of paper.  


Legionella risk assessments are an in-depth survey of your water system(s) - the starting point for water hygiene compliance. 

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Legionella risk assessments and compliance for landlords

The three main compliance areas are: The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH), The Health and Safety and Work Act 1974 and the L8 Approved Code of Practice. If you simply don’t have time to get your head around this then let us know. We can act on your behalf to ensure your rental property is Legionella compliant.

The starting point for Legionella compliance is the Legionella risk assessment. This will assess risk and any control measures should be identified. 

Read more about Legionella risk assessments and the legal compliance here.

Are your Legionella risk assessments due? Let us know

Legionella risk assessment FAQ for landlords

What is a landlord?

A landlord can be anyone who rents out a property they own - whether under a lease or license up to 7 years. A landlord  could be an individual (also known as private landlords), Local Authorities, Educational organisations, Housing co-ops, Housing Associations or Hostel owners. 

Who is responsible for arranging a Legionella risk assessment if I use a letting or management agent to manage my rental property?

Where a managing (or letting) agent is used, the management contract should clearly specify who has responsibility for maintenance and safety checks. This includes managing the risk from Legionella. Where there is no contract or agreement in place or it does not specify who has responsibility, the duty is placed on whoever has control of the premises. In most cases, this will be the landlord themselves.

How long do Legionella risk assessments for rental properties take?

A Legionella risk assessment for rental property need to cover your whole water system(s). So the time it takes to complete will depend on how large and/or how complex your system is. The smaller the water system, the quicker the risk assessment. A simple system will take less than an hour.

Do tenants need a copy of the Legionella risk assessment?

You do not need to provide a Legionella risk assessment to your tenants, but you do need to let them know of any control measures. For example, if you’re advised to set specific water temperatures then you will need to let your tenant know not to change the water temperature. If there are spare rooms with showers, toilets or sinks, you may advise them to run the water once a week to prevent build-up of Legionella bacteria.

What do I do if a property is empty for more than a week?

It is important that water is not allowed to stagnate within the water system. This increases the risk of Legionella. As a general rule, outlets on hot and cold water systems should be used at least once a week. This is to maintain a degree of water flow and minimise the chances of stagnation. If a property is empty between tenancies, or outside of term time for student accommodation, consideration measures should be taken. This could include draining the system or regular flushing.  

More information on Legionella risk assessments for rental properties

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