For landlords, PAT testing is an important consideration to take into account when adding electrical appliances into your properties which tenants will be using regularly. Should there be a problem with these items, this may cause harm to your property and its residents, alongside potentially damaging your reputation and rapport with your tenants.
In this article, we’re going to take you through a guide to portable appliance testing and answer common questions from landlords about what they need to do to comply with health and safety legislation.
PAT testing, or Portable Appliance Testing, is a term used to describe the examination of electrical equipment and electrical appliances to determine if they are safe for use in a work environment.
Users can normally find electrical defects with a brief visual inspection of the appliance, however, some defects can only be found once they have been tested. Anyone who carries out PAT testing should be competent and have knowledge of how to do a PAT test, in-place PAT testing guidelines, and be aware of PAT testing requirements and the risks involved with this process.
Though there is no specific law which states that you must perform Portable Appliance Testing as part of your responsibilities as a landlord, carrying out regular PAT testing in rental properties is still highly recommended.
PAT testing enables you to address several regulations that specify what safety standards must be met. These include the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998, the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.
Part of being a responsible landlord is ensuring that a property is safe from the start of a tenancy period and also conducting regular electrical testing throughout the period of tenancy. This means that PAT testing for landlords is a critical part of fulfilling this role.
This electrical testing should include PAT testing any small appliances provided by the landlords to the tenants, ensuring that they are free of electrical faults and are completely safe to use.
When considering who can do PAT testing, Portable Appliance Testing should ideally be conducted by someone who is trained, such as an electrician, is knowledgeable when dealing with electrical appliances, and can sufficiently check them for any possible problems.
Although a large majority of electrical faults can be uncovered from a visual inspection alone, ensuring that you get any electrical appliances and equipment PAT tested regularly will ensure that any underlying, and potentially dangerous, issues that are not visible to the naked eye are discovered and dealt with accordingly.
We’ve established that PAT testing for landlords is not a legal requirement, but it is crucial in avoiding a poor tenant relationship, helping to prevent hazards which could lead to lawsuits, and maintaining a safe environment in your property for those living there.
Whilst you don’t legally need a specific qualification to PAT test appliances, it is advised that, should you be carrying out this procedure, you undertake a course offered by a qualified programme or instructor. It is possible as a landlord to gain a PAT testing qualification to allow you to be able to safely and competently PAT test your own appliances in your rental properties.
It is recommended that smaller appliances undergo PAT testing every two years to ensure that they are in proper working order. This would include toasters, microwaves, and kettles to name a few typical items.
Larger appliances such as electric ovens, fridges, and washing machines can likely be left to be inspected every four years, but this is entirely up to the discretion of the landlord for how frequently they want to do this.
By organising PAT testing in rental properties, landlords can have the peace of mind that their property doesn’t contain any potential electrical hazards which could inconvenience, or even injure, tenants.
Any appliances that can be connected to a wall socket, or a generator, via a plug, need to be PAT tested. As a landlord, when purchasing a new appliance for a property, or as a tenant moving into rented accommodation, check to ensure that these appliances carry a ‘CE’ mark.
This ‘CE’ mark indicates that they have been constructed to European production laws and that they comply with the safety requirements of European regulations. This may help identify any potentially dangerous equipment before problems arise.
The cost of PAT testing for landlords can vary depending on the type of appliance you’re looking to get tested and the number of appliances that you want to get tested at any one time.
In the UK, electricians will charge a fixed fee for PAT testing a set number of appliances or may charge an hourly rate for offering their PAT testing services. For much larger jobs, in places such as construction sites or large office buildings, hourly rates for these professionals may vary and become more expensive. A fixed fee is usually in place regardless of the size of the job, before considering the cost of checking the appliances in question.
You can contact an electrician near you to gain a quote for how much PAT testing may cost you and your unique circumstances.
If you want to carry out a PAT test, being aware of the procedures and assessments involved is important to ensure that all electrical appliances, once tested, are free of any potential hazards and risks.
To conduct a complete PAT test, there are three crucial steps. The first is to get the device user checked, the second is to get the electrical device in question visually inspected and the third is to get a deeper check of the device, often using specialist equipment.
A user check of the appliance simply refers to checking by eye whether there are any visible faults or damages to the item. This may be visible in the form of cracks, damaged coatings, or visible wires that should be covered.
Anyone can complete a user check, and it is advised that should you ever notice a fault in an appliance, you cease using it and get it appropriately checked and repaired by a qualified PAT tester.
Next, get your appliances visually checked by a certified PAT tester. This will allow a professional with more experience and expert knowledge to conduct an in-depth investigation to see if there are any internal or external issues with the item.
It isn’t advised for anyone with no prior experience or knowledge of PAT testing to attempt this step. This is because knowledge of identifying a faulty or damaged component, as well as being able to accurately refer to a specific device manual, is necessary to understand how to fix the specific electrical appliance. This often requires undergoing a certified course beforehand.
Finally, once the device has undergone a thorough visual inspection by a PAT tester, they will ensure that the appliance gets tested with any specialist PAT testing equipment. This aims to assess particular components of the device to ensure that there are no internal faults.
For example, the PAT tester can check the resistance of the device. Should there be an issue with this, the PAT tester will advise you to no longer use this device and will work to repair this accordingly.
There may be several different tests that are required at this stage, but all are to ensure that the appliance is in full working order and to eliminate any electrical faults that may be present. This can also vary depending on the size and the voltage of the appliance.
Once you’re given the ok by your PAT tester that the appliance is safe, it will receive a sticker which is marked with the date that it has been tested alongside when it should receive another test in the future.
PAT testing on new equipment is not required, as these should be produced and supplied in safe conditions that do not mean it has to be formally PAT tested.
Taking note of whether there is a ‘CE’ mark on the appliance is recommended to identify whether the appliance is deemed to be safe in line with European regulations. However, it is always advisable to check whether there are any visible electrical faults or damages to the appliance before use to avoid any potential for harm.
A PAT tester is someone who examines electrical equipment and appliances in line with structured PAT testing guidelines in order to deem them safe for usage.
A PAT tester is normally an individual who has undergone formal PAT testing training to ensure that they can carry out the PAT testing process safely and competently. However, legally, there is no obligation to receive PAT test training before PAT testing electrical appliances, but this is strongly advised.
A PAT testing certificate provides proof that any electrical appliances or equipment that has been PAT tested are deemed safe for use and do not have any faults. Therefore, should you receive these after having your devices tested by a qualified professional, you’d be wise to keep them on file.
Should you have a number of electrical devices or appliances that have been PAT tested, keeping their certificates either in a folder, or booklet, may be wise so that you can refer back to them all in one place if ever necessary, and keep track of when they are next due to be PAT tested.
For businesses, a PAT test certificate book may prove useful so that you can prove that your company is meeting the electricity at work regulations guidelines, should this proof be required.
Whilst PAT testing isn’t a mandatory requirement for landlords, it’s something that can help to ensure the health and safety of your properties and prevent electrical incidents or accidents that cause harm to your tenants and/or the building. Understanding what PAT testing involves and how you can organise a PAT test is useful information for a landlord, and it’s recommended that you include this kind of testing in your property maintenance.
For a deeper understanding of how to carry out PAT testing and what standards are required for an appliance to pass a PAT test, our online ‘PAT testing Course’ can help you to find the information you need.