The number of landlords arranging for essential legionella risk assessments and monitoring to be undertaken in their rented properties is on the increase, according to the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors (APHC).

Commonly found in freshwater areas, legionella is a bacteria which can sometimes enter into artificial water supplies. When people come into contact with the bacteria by inhaling water droplets, they can contract the often fatal lung infection Legionnaires' disease.

By law, all hot and cold water systems within any property that has a commercial use, or is open to public access, must be assessed for risk of legionella. This includes residential properties that are let by private and social landlords, care homes, schools, sports facilities and changing rooms, and APHC has observed a growth in the number of risk assessments undertaken on these types of buildings. One reason for this is an increased demand on landlords by estate agents to have risk assessments undertaken, in line with regulations in this area.

APHC’s dedicated scheme, Legionella Risk Assessment and Disinfection, allows property owners to meet their obligations by sourcing and working with plumbing professionals who satisfy the scheme’s criteria.

John Thompson, chief executive at APHC, said: "We've been pleased to observe a steady increase in the numbers of legionella risk assessments being undertaken on rented properties. Landlords have a responsibility to protect the welfare of their tenants and at APHC there has certainly been evidence to suggest that the legislation in this area is working to achieve this."