Drinking Water Ordinance: Where is the landlord responsible?

Not everything concerning the drinking water quality may be charged to the waterworks. Even homeowners and landlords have certain responsibilities and a certain responsibility. How the relationship between waterworks, landlords and individual tenants is regulated is explained in detail here.


The Drinking Water Ordinance provides for a clear division of responsibilities between:

  • water suppliers
  • Landlords and owners and
  • tenants

The water supplier bears the responsibility for the treatment of the drinking water according to the current regulations of the Drinking Water Ordinance. His responsibility, however, only extends to the beginning of the house installation.

The owner of a building is responsible for the entire house installation. In this sense, the owners are in most cases also the housing cooperatives, for rental apartments and the landlords.

If the water is not supplied via the public network but, for example, via a private house well, all the duties that would otherwise be attributed to the water supplier are met by the owner. This includes the annual microbial inspection and taking necessary action. If this owner is a landlord, he has these obligations to the tenant.

The tenant's responsibilities relate only to certain areas. Of particular importance is this division in terms of testing and elimination as well as the prevention of Legionella.

Obligations of the landlord in the Legionellenprüfung

The landlord is responsible for the regular check for Legionella infestation only if

  • the building has more than two residential units and
  • either a minimum of 400 liters comprehensive system for hot water preparation is available
  • or the cable path between the hot water device and the remote sampling point contains at least three liters of water

The water content in the pipes is roughly equivalent to a length of about 15 to 20 meters in most domestic installations.

In all other cases, the landlord is not obliged to test legionella. The risk then hits the tenant alone.

Cost sharing for legionella examination

Not all costs for these measures may transfer the landlord to the tenant. The device for sampling points for samples requiring a structural alteration must be borne by the landlord himself.

The fees for the annual examinations (around 200 - 300 EUR, depending on the system), however, are considered operating costs.

The landlord may not transfer the elimination of Legionella to the tenants.

Tips & Tricks

In the interest of your own safety, you should also consider as a tenant to take precautions yourself, if possible. This can be, for example, a drinking water test.

Video Board: Tenant has left and not paid utility bills