Whether or not PAT Testing is required in rented accommodation is often a hot topic that can stir up strong debates. Is PAT Testing for Landlords required?
Is it a legal requirement for landlords to have PAT Testing done on the electrical appliances in their property?
Unlike gas safe certificates there is no specific law that states that electrical equipment in rental properties has to be PAT Tested. There are however a variety of pieces of legislation that require electrical appliances in rented accommodation to be safe.
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
This act puts a duty on the employer to ensure the safety of all persons using the work premises. At this point most landlords will be thinking that they are not an employer and they do not have any work premises. By renting out accommodation to tenants landlords are running a business and they are therefore accountable as a duty holder for that property.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
These regulations state that 'every employer will make a suitable and sufficient assessment of the risks to the health and safety of persons not in his employment arising out of or in connection with the conduct by him of his undertaking'.
With regard to rental properties these regulations would require a landlord to assess the risks to all persons associated with their electrical equipment and identify any significant risks. An example of this may be the use of an electric lawnmower supplied by a landlord to be used outside by tenants to maintain the lawn. A significant risk may be present if the fixed electrical installation is dated and does not have RCD (Residual Current Device) protection in the fuse board. This may be identified during PAT Testing and overcome by fitting an RCD plug.
These regulations also require as appropriate for duty holders to appoint a competent person to take responsibility for electrical maintenance including inspection and testing. They also place a responsibility of the duty holder to ensure that persons carrying out this electrical maintenance are competent and have sufficient training, experience and knowledge.
The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
These regulations apply to virtually all electrical equipment from overhead high voltage power lines, fixed electrical installations in properties, electrical appliances and even things like battery powered lamps. These regulations state that 'as may be necessary to prevent danger, all systems shall be maintained so as to prevent, so far is reasonably practicable, such danger'.
Landlords and Tenant Act 1985
This act requires that the electrical installation in a rented property is safe when a tenancy begins and is maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy.
The Housing Act 2004 (England and Wales)
This act was introduced in 2006 and introduced a rating system to assess the risks of residential properties.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
If a landlord provides any electrical appliances as port of a tenancy, these regulations require that person to ensure that the appliances are safe when first supplied.
The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016
All new equipment that is intended for supply in the United Kingdom must now comply with these regulations. Essentially this means that all electrical appliances must carry the CE mark.
You would think that this is a relatively easy thing to comply with as most electrical appliances are CE marked. There are however increasing amounts of cheap counterfeit or substandard electrical appliances being sold online. Most of these carry a mark similar to the CE mark however it is not technically correct and the manufacturers tend to claim that it is not a CE mark it is in fact the 'China Export' Mark.
Can you spot the fake fuse in the photo below? Both of the plugs in the photo are dangerous and were found on counterfeit electrical products whilst carrying out PAT Testing.