Landlord PAT Test
Landlord PAT Test
If you are a Landlord in the United Kingdom then there are certain regulations regarding the safety of electrical appliances in your rental accommodation. The most effective and efficient means of ensuring you are complying with these requirements is to have a regular landlord Landlord PAT Test on all electrical appliances in your property.
There are numerous pieces of governmental legislation which regulates the responsibilities of landlords for providing safe and secure electrical appliances and equipment for tenants. These include the Landlords and Tenants Act (1985), the Housing Act (2004) pertaining especially to the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, the Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England & Wales) (2006), Building Regulations (England & Wales) (2006), British Standard 7671: 2008 (IEE Wiring Regulations) and the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations (1994). As referenced in the Association of Residential Letting Agents’ “Landlord’s Guide to Electrical Safety”, while it may not be a legally binding aspect of your duties as a landlord, by following the Code and Practice for In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment (ISITEE), or more commonly referred to as a PAT testing, you are providing “compliance with health and safety legislation” and gaining a “scope of inspections and testing for a range of electrical equipment in different environments.”
Under the Landlords and Tenants Act (1985) section 11, subsection 1, it is the responsibility of the landlord to “keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity…” This section of the law determines that the responsibility of maintaining, repairing and replacing all electrical appliances which may cause harm or injury to any tenants occupying the property, rests entirely with the landlord of said property. In order to comply with this legislation, a landlord PAT test can help to determine whether or not all appliances are maintained to a safe standard. This means that for a landlord pat tests are the best course of action.
Further legislation regarding the responsibilities of landlords to ensure that their property is safe includes the establishment of the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, introduced in 2006, as part of the Housing Act (2004). Rather than establishing minimum standards for a property to meet, it seeks to encourage avoidance of, or minimisation of, potential hazards in residencies. The Housing Health and Safety Rating System’s Guidance for Landlords and Property Related Professionals describes electrical hazards as:
– Hazards from shock and burns resulting from exposure to electricity but not risks associated with fire caused by deficiencies to the electrical installations, e.g. ignition caused by a short circuit.
It goes on to specify that appropriate measures to reduce the likelihood of electrical hazards and accidents include ensuring that:
– Electrical wiring and installation meets the latest requirements of Institution of Electrical Engineers/British Standard (BS 7671);
– Adequate number of appropriately sited electrical socket outlets;
– Appropriately sited fuses and meters;
– Adequately earthed electrical system;
– Installation, i.e. supply/meters/fuses/wiring/sockets/light fittings/switches to be maintained in good repair;
– Electrical installations to avoid close proximity to water including areas of damp; and
– Lightning Protection System to be kept in good repair
The landlord PAT test, while not directly referenced in the legislation, covers all of the recommendations to ensure that the above suggestions are carried out. It specifies that there should be:
– A visual inspection of the electrical system… to identify obvious hazards;
– Where there appear to be deficiencies that increase risk above average, then a full inspection and test report by a qualified electrician/electrical engineer may be necessary – in any event this may be desirable anyway every couple of years; and
– The condition of associated leads and plugs of portable appliances should also be taken into account in the assessment if they are provided as part of a rented dwelling.
Given that the electrical portable appliance test consists of a visual inspection of electrical appliances, inspections of flexes and plugs to ensure safety and correct wiring, and for the inspection to be carried out by a qualified electrician, it is difficult to argue that a landlord PAT test is not the simplest and easiest method of complying with all relevant government legislation. The wider implications of the Housing Act also include the need to identify and carry out improvements to your property if work is required before local authority inspects the property. If there is found to be a health and safety violation then the inspector has authority to take enforcement action against you.
The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations (2006) provides a suggested time frame for a landlord to carry out the re-testing of any electrical portable appliances in their property. It is stated in section 6 of the legislation as well as being outlined clearly in the official explanation of the legislation that:
– The manager must:
a) Ensure that every fixed electrical installation is inspected and tested at intervals not exceeding five years by a person qualified to undertake such inspection and testing;
b) Obtain a certificate from the person conducting the test, specifying the result of the test…
– The manager’s duties include the duty to take safety measures, the duty to maintain the water supply and drainage, to supply and maintain gas and electricity and have tested regularly gas and electricity installations, the duty to maintain common parts, fixtures and fittings and living accommodation.
– The Regulations set out what occupiers must do with a view to assisting managers to undertake their duties.
From this, one can deduce that while clearly not prescribing excessive testing, the legislation emphasises the need to have a landlord PAT test/b> carried out regularly by a qualified electrician. The bare minimum for this is every five years as stated above, yet in order to ensure that your appliances and tenants are safe it is recommended by professionals that an annual test would give sufficient cover in order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all concerned. As the landlord PAT Test includes all of the relevant tests to comply for government legislation, the logical step is to commission a Portable Appliance Test for your rental property.
In 2006 the government introduced new Building Regulations in order to ensure that properties were conforming to sufficient safety standards. Part P of this legislation is directed specifically at electrical appliances and general electrical installations and states that:
– “Reasonable provisions shall be made in the design and installation of electrical installations in order to protect persons operating, maintaining or altering the installations from fire or injury.”
– This incorporates “electrical installations that are intended to operate at low or extra-low voltage and are:
a) In or attached to a dwelling;
b) In the common parts of a building serving one or more dwellings, but excluding power to lifts;
c) In a building that receives its electricity from a source located within or shared with a dwelling; or
d) In a garden or in or on land associated with a building where the electricity is from a source located within or shared with a dwelling.
It also specifies in section 0.1 that:
– “To achieve these requirements electrical installations must be:
a) Designed and installed to afford appropriate protection against mechanical and thermal damage, and so that they do not present electric shock and fire hazards to people;
b) Suitably inspected and tested to verify that they meet the relevant equipment and installation standards.”
If you are a landlord of a property which has undergone significant changes in the electrical installations and systems which are used, you are responsible for ensuring that they have been installed and operate correctly by a fully qualified tradesman. This relates to landlords because the responsibility to ensure that anyone carrying out any future electrical tests, including the landlord’s PAT test, is safe while checking for any faults with any electrical installations in the property lies with them.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations of 1994 apply directly to landlords as they are classified as “sellers” in the terms of the legislation. This means that any electrical appliances which are low voltage and supplied with the property are required to be safe in order to prevent injury to humans, property or pets. It is essential, therefore, to have a PAT test commissioned for any appliances which you have supplied as part of the rental property including any and all TVs, fridges, microwaves etc.
From the legislation outlined above, as well as many of the other regulations and guidelines created to ensure the safety and wellbeing of tenants, it is easy to see that a landlord PAT test must be carried out whenever any changes are undertaken to the property, whenever new tenants move in to the property, and tested as part of a cogent health and safety plan. It is your duty as a landlord to make sure the appropriate testing is carried out and that your property is safe for residential purposes.
In order to obtain your own landlord PAT test Certificate, simply fill out the online form and My London Tradesmen will contact companies on your behalf. You will then be supplied with up to 3 quotes leaving you to make an informed decision over which tradesman to employ based on the quotes you have received.
All of the tradesmen we use have received up to date training and are registered with all the necessary bodies for your Landlord PAT Test. We only use reputable and trustworthy tradesmen.