PAT Testing for Landlords
Being a landlord, it can sometimes seem like there’s are an endless list of administrative procedures and terminology that you’re expected to keep up with. Things get even more complicated when people start throwing around acronyms that you’re expected to memorise somehow.
This piece is here to help you understand all that you need to know about PAT testing from a landlord’s perspective and why in most cases, you’ll find that it’s worth getting the appliances in your rental properties inspected and keep yourself up to date with the laws on PAT testing for Landlords.
PAT Testing for Landlords
Lettings providers are constantly trying to upsell and, in the process, may throw you off what is necessary to get done in terms of compliance obligations. PAT testing, which is a series of safety checks for the electrical appliances that you have in your property or properties, can be one source of this confusion a lot of the time.
This piece is here to help you understand all that you need to know about PAT testing from a landlord’s perspective and why in most cases, you’ll find that it’s worth getting the appliances in your rental properties inspected.
What is PAT Testing for Landlords?
PAT testing stands for ‘portable appliance testing testing’. No, that’s not a typo, and you did read it right. This is a classic example of redundant acronym syndrome where the ‘T’ in ‘PAT’ stands for testing. Yet people still throw around the term PAT testing! Besides how silly the actual terminology is, it can be an essential procedure that helps keep people and properties safe. It is the process of inspecting all electrical equipment and appliances in a property to ensure that it is safe for continued use.
As indicated by the name, portable appliance testing refers specifically to inspecting the safety of portable appliances such as lamps, space heaters, kettles, microwaves and much more. Whilst you may not think of items such as a fridge as particularly portable, these also come under the remit of PAT testing. This is because the term ‘portable’ is being used here to refer to things that can generally be carried out from the house, even if they can’t necessarily fit into your bike basket.
What is the Importance of PAT Testing for Landlords?
Although they share similarities, these PAT tests differ from electrical installation conditions reports (EICR). EICR inspections ensure the safety of all the fixed electric fittings supplied directly by the property’s electric meter. This includes things like power sockets and lighting, which aren’t portable in the same sense.
However, both are very important to ensure that your tenants live in a safe environment and that both they and your property aren’t at risk of being hurt by electrical hazards. Electrical fires are the most common of all house fires in the UK, so the importance of staying on top of this really shouldn’t be understated.
Both types of tests share the purpose of minimising electrical hazards and their risks, and it’s just that they look at slightly different things.
So you’re probably wondering what a PAT test entails. It begins with a visual inspection of the portable appliances in the property at first. After this is a more detailed investigation using equipment specialised for PAT testing on the necessary appliances, this equipment is designed to measure earth continuity, which is the connection between the earth pon on the plug and the case of the appliance. It also checks whether the lead is wired correctly (this is called lead polarity) or not and also the appliance’s insulation resistance.
If any of these things are at fault, then this means that the appliance poses a significant risk to health and safety. For example, a plug’s earth pin provides a path for the electrical current to flow to the ground from the case of the appliance if a fault occurs, which is supposed to protect the person using it from getting injured.
Suppose this is not working for whatever reason, and the earth pin is compromised on an appliance you have provided with the property. In that case, you are placing your tenant in a precarious situation where they could get harmed, which you could be found legally responsible for.
What is the Difference Between PAT and EICR Tests?
What differentiates PAT tests from EICR tests is that EICR certification requires a qualified electrician to go through all the necessary steps and submit a report to the relevant body to confirm that everything is ok. However, this doesn’t mean you can leave your PAT testing to your dog and call it a day.
The person carrying out the testing must be deemed competent, meaning that they have the relevant knowledge of general electrical safety and the awareness and experience of the right processes to test the safety of appliances. Even if you don’t want to use a qualified electrician for some reason, it is still the best practice to hire a professional in a similar field so that the tests can be carried out safely and thoroughly.
Is PAT Testing For Landlords Essential?
Your options are whittled down by the specialist equipment needed to carry out the tests. Your local jack-of-all-trades handyperson is unlikely to have the necessary tools at hand to check the safety of the appliances in your property accurately. There’s no harm in asking around, though. You may get lucky! However, this does mean that once again, a qualified electrician is likely to be your best bet as they will almost always have the correct tools at hand to make sure everything’s carried out as it should be.
There is no legal requirement that states explicitly you much arrange portable appliance testing. However, completely ignoring it is a dangerous route both for the tenants to who you rent your property and potentially you legally if it turns out you’re neglecting your reasonable duties. As things stand, only the EICR certificate that landlords must provide to their tenants by law (in terms of electrical safety documents, that is).
PAT Testing For Landlords – To Conclude
In conclusion, though, it is still strongly recommended that you have your PAT testing done, as even if the test specifically isn’t a legal requirement, it can ensure your meeting other legal standards of ensuring tenant safety and welfare.
Find out more about the importance of insurance here.
Other useful links about Business Insurance:
Building Insurance for Landlords
Landlord Contents Insurance
UK General Landlord Insurance
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