The Legionella Risk Assessment: Landlord Or Tenant?
The legionella risk assessment for a building is so important, yet can be extremely problematic. It’s not hard to call in an expert who can complete the task for you and present any findings and recommendations – you simply need to get in touch with Assured Water for that – but the problem can often lie in trying to determine just who is responsible for organising (and paying for) the work.
This is especially true when we think about rented buildings. Is it the landlord or the tenant who is responsible for ensuring that a legionella risk assessment is carried out?
Who Is Responsible?
In most scenarios, when a building is rented most of the tasks that need to be completed within it will be down to the tenant. It is their responsibility to keep the building looking nice and in good working order. They need to make repairs to the walls, carpets, doors, and so on should something happen. They need to ask for permission to make any changes. And since the tenants are the ones who are in the building every day, and who are using the water system, it would seem to make sense that it is they who need to be responsible for the legionella risk assessment.
However, the landlord has responsibilities too, and when it comes to the law regarding health and safety, it is the landlord who is ultimately responsible. Since legionella risk assessments fall squarely into the health and safety remit, this means that the landlord needs to carry out – or arrange for a professional to carry out – the legionella risk assessment for their tenants. This is true whether the building is a studio flat or a large multi-tenanted office block, school, or hotel. Whoever owns the building owns the responsibility for the general health and safety of those within it.
The reality is, as many will know, some landlords are better than others. These more proactive landlords will usually understand what they need to do and ensure that it is done. Others may not. They may not realise that there is anything for them to do, or they might just hope for the best and have their fingers crossed that the tenant will take it upon themselves to have the work done rather than wait or cause a fuss.
Neither of these scenarios is good. A landlord must be aware of what their legal responsibilities are, and they must carry out any work that needs to be done, which includes having a legionella risk assessment. Remember, ignorance of the law is no excuse, and it is down to the individual landlord to research what it is they need to do and what they are responsible for.
If you are a landlord who needs a legionella risk assessment carried out on their building or buildings, or you are a tenant who wants more information about legionella risk assessments and the work that is required, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Assured Water Hygiene; we can answer any questions and carry out high quality legionella risk assessments in your behalf.