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Is PAT Testing a Legal Requirement for Landlords?

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Is PAT Testing a Legal Requirement for Landlords?
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The safety of a landlord’s tenants is paramount – and there are many ways the owner of the property can always guarantee this. Different health and safety checks look at different things, and one of the most important is a PAT test.

PAT testing can provide essential peace of mind to any tenants in a property. It demonstrates a landlord’s commitment to following the rules and keeping them safe. But what exactly is PAT testing – and is it a legal requirement for landlords?

Read our blog below for an answer to these questions.

What is PAT Testing?

Portable appliance testing (PAT) is when the electrical appliances in a property are checked, to make sure that they are safe to use. This check is typically carried out by a qualified professional – in most cases, a registered electrician.

Once the PAT test has been completed, the electrician should provide the homeowner which a report which covers the following:

  • An inventory of every appliance – including name, location and description
  • Test results for all the appliances that were tested
  • A list of any items which failed the test – along with an explanation of their failure
  • Whether each appliance has passed or failed – along with details of the inspection date, next test due and the inspector’s signature

Some of the tests used by the electrician to determine each appliance’s safety may include earth continuity, lead polarity, and insulation resistance.

PAT testing is also often carried out in the workplace, to ensure that electrical equipment is safe for employees to use.

Why is PAT Testing done?

PAT Testing was introduced by the UK government to ensure that all landlords meet the legal requirements for appliance safety in their property. The tests can provide significant peace of mind for the tenants living there, and it also helps the landlord to avoid accidents caused by faulty appliances which may damage their property.

It is often in the best interest of a landlord to complete PAT testing. This is because the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, outlines a landlord’s legal responsibility to ensure electrical equipment does not pose any risk to users. If a landlord does not meet these standards, it may result in a fine and/or legal action.

How often should What PAT Testing be carried out?

While there is no law for how often PAT testing should be carried out, it is recommended by experts that PAT testing is carried out every 2 years, and at least every 4 years as an absolute minimum. Some types of equipment (depending on their ‘class’) will need testing more often than others, and a qualified electrician can provide more insight about this.

How much does PAT Testing cost?

Different electricians charge for PAT testing in different ways – therefore, there is no single way that this service is charged for.

Most electricians charge per item, with the average cost between approximately £1.25 per item, up to a total of 50 items[1]. The cost per item may go down slightly once you reach over 50 items.

On the other hand, some electricians charge for PAT testing on an hourly rate. The cost will therefore depend on the specific professional’s rates.

Portable Appliance Testing is considered ‘best practice’ for landlords in the UK – however, unless specifically required as part of a licence condition, it is not a legal requirement.

Landlords are legally required to ensure that their electrical equipment is maintained properly, to prevent danger. However, there are no specific provisions about how they should do this, or how often they must do it. Nevertheless, PAT testing is the most common way that landlords go about meeting this obligation.

Do I need to do PAT Testing on a new appliance?

A new appliance should be supplied in a safe condition – and therefore, it does not necessarily require a PAT test. However, it is recommended that a visual check is completing to ensure that the item is in working order, and not damaged.

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