What is Legionnaires’ Disease?
The Legionella bacteria cause Legionnaires’ Disease, an illness similar to pneumonia that can, under certain circumstances, be fatal. The infection can occur when individuals breathe in small droplets of contaminated water.
The bacteria exist in the natural environment and can contaminate and thrive in water systems, including domestic hot and cold water. The legionella bacteria flourish at temperatures between 20 – 45°C when the conditions are favorable, but temperatures of 60°C or higher eliminate them.
Since the L8 Approved Code of Practice (3rd edition) (ACOP) was published in 2001, there has been a requirement for landlords of both domestic and business premises to assess the risks from exposure to Legionella to their tenants. You can read more on the HSE website.
Whilst most rented premises may be low risk, it is important that landlords assess and control the risks. Landlords may potentially face prosecution under HSWA. In such cases, they would need to demonstrate to a court that they had fulfilled their legal duty.