Before considering carrying out a risk assessment you should familiarise yourself in particular with the following HSE publications:


Quick Guide to Legionnaire’s risk assessment including a free risk assessment form

Legionnaire’s disease: A brief guide for dutyholders –

Legionnaire’s disease Part 2: The control the relevant part of Legionella in hot and cold water systems

If you do not consider that you are competent then give the task to someone who is.

The risk assessment process

The practical risk assessment should include a site survey of the water system. A template is attached which is suitable for a basic system and can be adapted as required. The assessor should complete all the sections coloured blue.

The assessor should understand the water systems and any associated equipment in the property, in order to conclude whether the system is likely to create a risk from exposure to Legionella.

It is important to identify whether:

water is stored or re-circulated as part of the system (particular areas of risk include water tanks, dead legs, shower heads and/or long runs of pipe work containing warm water)

the water temperature in some or all parts of the system is between 20 – 45°C (hot water should be stored in any tanks at 60°C)

there are sources of nutrients such as rust, sludge, scale and organic matters

conditions are present to encourage bacteria to multiply

it is possible for water droplets to be produced and, if so, whether they could be dispersed, e.g. showers

there are parts of the system that are used infrequently e.g. guest bathrooms

it is likely that any of the tenants, residents, visitors etc are more susceptible to infection due to age, health or lifestyle and whether they could be exposed to any contaminated water droplets

Reviewing the risk assessment

If the risk assessment concludes there is no reasonably foreseeable risk or the risks are insignificant and are managed properly to comply with the law, the

assessment is complete. Although no further action may be required at this stage, existing controls must be maintained. The assessment of risk is an ongoing process and not merely a paper exercise. The assessment should be reviewed regularly and specifically when there is reason to suspect it is no longer valid.

Educating tenants

Landlords should inform tenants of the potential risk of exposure to Legionnaire’s disease within domestic properties and its consequences. They should advise on any actions arising from the findings of the risk assessment, where appropriate.

Tenants should be advised in particular that they should:

• inform the landlord/letting agent if they believe the hot water temperature is below 50°C or the hot water tank/boiler is defective in any way

• not adjust the temperature of the hot water

• advise landlord/letting agent if they believe the cold water temperature is above 20°C

• flush through little used outlets for 2 minutes at least once a week

• clean, disinfect and descale shower heads at least once every 6 months

• notify the landlord/letting agent if they notice any debris or discolouration in the hot or cold water

See & download

1. Legionella Check List

There is a duty on landlords to ensure that all electrical equipment supplied by them, either new or second hand, is safe for use by their tenants.

This is because there are two primary Acts of Parliament that impose a statutory duty on landlords with respect to the safety of electrical equipment:

1. The Consumer Protection Act 1987
2. The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974

The Consumer Protection Act affects all persons who let property in the course of their business because it defines them as “suppliers”, i.e. they are supplying goods to the tenant.

There are several items of secondary legislation covered by the Consumer protection Act which are directly relevant to the supply of electrical goods, including:

1. The Low Voltage Electrical Equipment Regulations 1989
2. The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
3. The General Product Safety Regulations 1994
4. The Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994

The Consumer Protection Act provides a defence of ‘due diligence’, i.e. a landlord can defend a contravention of the Act if he can demonstrate that he took reasonable steps to avoid committing the offence.

This is why a planned programme of appliance testing is essential.

New measures to improve the energy performance of our buildings.

Buildings are responsible for almost 50 per cent of the UK’s energy consumption and carbon emissions.

Communities and Local Government has introduced measures in England and Wales to improve the energy efficiency of our buildings, including:

  • introducing energy performance certificates (EPCs) for properties providing A-G efficiency ratings and recommendations for improvement
  • requiring public buildings to display energy certificates (DECs)
  • requiring inspections for air conditioning systems
  • giving advice and guidance for boiler users

Since October 2008 all properties – homes, commercial and public buildings – when bought, sold, built or rented need an EPC. Larger public buildings also need to display an energy certificate.

  • by 4 January 2009 the first inspection of all existing air-conditioning systems over 250 kW must have occurred. The first inspection of all remaining air-conditioning systems over 12 kW must have happened by 4 January 2011.

An Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is required for all homes whenever built, rented or sold. If you are buying or selling a home it is now law to have a certificate. They are also required on construction of new homes and  are needed for rented homes the first time the property is let after 1 October 2008.

The certificate records how energy efficient a property is as a building and provides A-G ratings. These are similar to the labels now provided with domestic appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines.

They are produced using standard methods and assumptions about energy usage so that the energy efficiency of one building can easily be compared with another building of the same type. This allows prospective buyers, tenants, owners, occupiers and purchasers to see information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions from their building so they can consider energy efficiency and fuel costs as part of their investment.

An EPC is always accompanied by a recommendation report that lists cost effective and other measures (such as low and zero carbon generating systems) to improve the energy rating. A rating is also given showing what could be achieved if all the recommendations were implemented.

The certificate is important because nearly 50 per cent of the UK’s energy consumption and carbon emissions arise from the way our buildings are lit, heated and used. Even comparatively minor changes in energy performance and the way we use each building will have a significant effect in reducing energy consumption.

EPCS are produced by accredited energy assessors.

Click here to see a full sample of an EPC

From the 1st October 2015 regulations require both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms to be installed in rented residential accommodation.

Changes are also made to the licence requirements in relation to houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), such as shared houses and bedsits which require a licence and also in relation to properties which are subject to selective licensing. The Regulations apply both to houses and flats. Failure to comply can lead to a civil penalty being imposed of up to £5,000. These provisions only apply in England; not Wales.

Who is affected?

The requirements are imposed on the immediate landlord. There is an exemption for providers of social housing. A tenancy includes a licence to occupy a residential premises and it also extends to subletting for these purposes. In the case of a licensed HMO or where there is a selective licensing it is the responsibility of the licence holder to ensure that mandatory conditions imposed in relation to the installation of alarms are complied with.

The premises affected

These duties apply to residential premises which means premises all or part of which comprise a dwelling. Thus, it will apply to a flat over a shop. If the property is a licensed HMO or subject to selective licensing there are mandatory conditions imposed on licences.

The premises must be let under a specified tenancy or a licence. This is a tenancy or licence of residential premises which grants one or more persons the right to occupy premises as their only or main residence. Rent or a licence fee must be payable.

There are various exemptions:-

A tenancy under which the occupier shares any accommodation with the landlord or a member of the landlord’s family. There must be a sharing of an amenity which includes a toilet, personal washing facilities, a kitchen or a living room but excludes any reference to storage or access. A tenancy which is a long lease or which grants a right of occupation of the premises, i.e. for more than 21 years. Student halls of residence. Hostels Care homes Hospitals Accommodation relating to health care provision Requirement for Smoke alarms During any period beginning on or after 1st October 2015 while the premises are occupied under a tenancy (or licence) the landlord must ensure that a smoke alarm is equipped on each storey of the premises on which there is a room used wholly or partly as living accommodation. A living room will include a lounge dining room and kitchen as well as a bathroom or toilet. It also includes a hall or landing. This means that a smoke alarm must be provided in working order on each storey. Since the regulation relates to each storey in the premises this suggests that a separate alarm is not needed on a half landing as these would not be regarded as individually being a storey. As regards individual flats located on one floor then there will have to be at least one alarm within the flat itself or alternatively are provided outside the flat on the same floor of the building, i.e. a communal alarm. Likewise, for flats comprising more than one storey there will need to be a smoke alarm on each floor. It is the location of an alarm which sounds which is crucial; not the positioning of detectors.

The Regulations do not stipulate what kind of alarm is required. Ideally it should be a hard wired alarm system. It can, however, be a single standalone alarm. Landlords are recommended by the RLA to fit ten year long life tamper proof alarms, otherwise there is a problem of batteries being taken out and not being replaced.

Carbon monoxide alarms

Likewise, during any period beginning on or after 1st October 2015 when the premises are occupied under a tenancy or a licence a carbon monoxide alarm must be provided by the landlord in any room in premises which is used wholly or partly as living accommodation which contains a solid fuel burning combustion appliance. This applies to any kind of wood burning stove or an open coal fire. It will also extend to equipment such as a solid fuel Aga in the kitchen. This is already a requirement with new installations of solid fuel burning combustion appliances as under Building Regulations there is a requirement to install a carbon monoxide alarm. This is now extended to any existing appliances already in place before Building Regulations imposed this requirement or where building regulations are not observed.


The landlord is specifically required to carry out a check to ensure that smoke alarms or carbon monoxide alarms installed to comply with the Regulations are in proper working order on the day a tenancy begins where it is a new tenancy. A new tenancy is a tenancy granted on or after 1st October 2015. For these purposes a new tenancy does not include a tenancy which was granted where the original agreement was entered into before 1st October 2015; nor does it include a periodic statutory tenancy which arises when a fixed term shorthold tenancy ends. It does not apply to a tenancy which starts at the end of an earlier tenancy where the landlord and tenant are the same as under the earlier tenancy and the premises are the same (or substantially the same) as those under the earlier tenancy. Therefore this express requirement to check does not apply to the renewal of a tenancy for the same premises by the same landlord to the same tenant. This should not be confused with the requirement to install detectors and alarms which applies to tenancies in existence before October 1st 2015.

In our view, landlords should not be under a false sense of security because of this provision. Our reading of the regulation is that there is an ongoing obligation to ensure that any smoke alarm or carbon monoxide alarm installed to meet these requirements is in working order. Alarms should therefore be checked periodically to see that they are working properly. There is no reason why this responsibility should not be placed on the tenant and the government guidance does suggest the tenant check monthly. However, the landlord will then have to make sure that the tenant does actually carry out the checks. If challenged, a landlord could have to show that a proper system has been put in place to check alarms regularly.

Placement of Alarms

The regulations do not tell landlords where to place the alarms, instead the guidance suggests the landlord follow the manufacturer’s instructions which will typically be at head height between 1-3 meters away from the solid fuel burning source for carbon monoxide alarms and in a circulation point for smoke detectors.

HMOs and Selectively licensed properties

As from 1st October 2015 new licence conditions will be included requiring the provision of smoke alarms and fire detectors. In the case of HMO licences they already contain provisions for alarms in any case. The regulations themselves are not applicable in this kind of accommodation. Enforcement The local authority is responsible for enforcement. A local authority must serve a remedial notice within 21 days where they have reason to believe that the landlord is in breach of any of these duties relating to smoke alarms or carbon monoxide alarms. A remedial notice must specify the action to be taken within 28 days of the date of the service of the notice. It allows the landlord 28 days to make representations against the notice. The landlord must then take the required action within the period allowed. There is an excuse for a landlord for non-compliance with the notice if the landlord can show that he has taken reasonable steps to comply with the duty, but the landlord is not required to take legal proceedings. This could cover a situation where the tenant refuses access to allow the work to be done. If the landlord fails to take action then the local authority must, if it has the necessary consent to do so, arrange for the work required to be undertaken within 28 days of consent being obtained if consent of the occupier of the premises is required. Therefore if a local authority is also refused access by the tenant it cannot take the necessary steps itself.


If the landlord is in breach the local authority may require the landlord to pay a penalty charge up to a maximum of £5,000. It has discretion whether or not to impose this charge. If it intends to impose a charge it must serve a penalty charge notice within six weeks from when it is first satisfied that a breach has occurred. A right to make representations against the penalty notice is given and the local authority may reduce the charge for prompt payment. Appeals If the local authority upholds a penalty charge notice there is a right to appeal for the landlord to the First Tier Tribunal.

The Grounds of Appeal are:-

Local authority has made an error of fact or law The amount of penalty charge is unreasonable The decision to impose a penalty is unreasonable for any other reason Payment of the penalty is suspended pending any appeal. Local authority penalty policy Each local authority must publish a statement of principles which will be followed in determining the amount of any penalty charge. This statement will be taken into account in deciding on an individual penalty for a particular case. Further information The government published some guidance based on the draft regulations a which is available here which is designed to cover the most frequent questions for landlords. Here is a link to the government web site for more information.