Legionnaires' disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia which is contracted by inhaling
small droplets of water containing the Legionella bacteria.
Legionella bacteria are present in low numbers in natural water systems such as rivers and
ponds, and can be present in domestic and commercial hot and cold water systems. If
conditions are favourable, the bacteria may multiply to dangerous levels in 9-10 days and it is
possible to contract Legionnaires' disease, or the less harmful Pontiac Fever as a result of
exposure to contaminated water.
Legionnaires' disease mainly affects people in 'high risk' groups including those over the age of
45, new born babies, smokers, heavy drinkers, those with heart disease and anyone who has a
weakened immune system.
The control of Legionella in rented property is a legal requirement, and duties of care are
placed on Landlords as 'self-employed persons'. House of Commons Briefing Paper 07307
(October 2015) states:
'Landlords of residential accommodation have a responsibility to take measures to ensure that
their properties are free from health and safety hazards, this includes taking measures to
combat Legionnaires' Disease.'
The duties of care placed on Landlords are detailed in the following generic HSE guidance and
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999