Legionairres and landlords responsibilities

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What are a landlords responsibilities?

It is the responsibility of landlords to ensure the health and safety of their tenants by keeping the rental property safe and free from hazards. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on their own website have reminded landlords of their responsibility in relation to Legionnaires disease. They define a landlord as anyone who rents out a property they own under a lease or a licence that is shorter than seven years. The relevant piece of legislation is:

Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) makes provision for relevant health and safety legislation to apply to landlords to ensure a duty of care is shown to their tenants’ with regard to their health and safety. The general duties require under section 3(2) that “It shall be the duty of every self-employed person to conduct his undertaking in such a way as to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that he and other persons (not being his employees) who may be affected thereby are not thereby exposed to risks to their health or safety.”. Landlords, under Section 53 of HSWA are regarded as being self-employed and tenants fall into the class of “other persons (not being his employees)”. If you rent out a property, you have legal responsibilities to ensure you conduct your undertaking in such a way that your tenant(s) are not exposed to health and safety risks.

Some of a landlords legal requirement are set out by the HSE legionnaires –  what you must do;  but there is also a lot of other contradictory information that clouds the issues. For instance does a landlord have to carry out a Risk Assessment? Does this have to be in writing? – the HSE guidance is equivocal.

A landlord responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work Act

There are legal duties placed on landlords by the Health and Safety at Work Act. To carry out a risk assessment, the Responsible person ( Landlords ) must be competent which is defined. Since 2013 there has been a lot of publicity from companies suggesting its now a legal requirement to have a legionnaires certificate for rented property.  The cost of these certificates are often three figures.

The HSE have confirmed  that certificates are not mandatory for most residential properties. However, the safety, duties and responsibilities on landlords are defined and have legal sanctions. For example, there is certain information that a landlord must provide to tenants, failure to do so comes at a cost.

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