If you own a property that you let out to other people, either short-term or long-term, you need to ensure it is safe.
One of the ways you can keep your tenants safe is by checking any electrical equipment you provide them. This is known as 'PAT testing' or 'electrical equipment testing'.
This will not only reduce the risk of electric shocks, but also protect from electrical fires.
- What is PAT testing?
- What needs to be PAT tested in a rental property?
- Do I need to PAT test my tenant's equipment?
- Who can carry out PAT testing?
- How often do I need to carry out PAT testing in a rental property?
- Should I test appliances before a tenant moves in?
- Do I have to get PAT testing if I have an HMO?
- Do I have to get PAT testing if I rent out long-term accommodation?
- Do I have to get PAT testing if I rent out holiday homes?
- What are the landlord PAT testing requirements in Scotland?
- Is there anything else I need to have done?
So, do landlords need to PAT test electrical items? Find out what you need to do in this short guide.
What is PAT testing?
PAT testing (also known as electrical equipment testing) is when electrical equipment is checked to ensure it is safe for use.
It consists of a thorough visual inspection as well as testing the equipment for internal faults.
What needs to be PAT tested in a rental property?
As a general rule, anything that plugs into the mains should be tested. Equipment in a property that should be checked includes:
- Washing machines
- Tumble dryers
- Vacuum cleaners
- Heated towel rails
- Extension leads
Despite the name, PAT testing covers portable equipment as well as larger appliances and equipment fixed to a surface or wall.
Do I need to PAT test my tenant's equipment?
As a landlord, you only need to test equipment that you have purchased for the property.
You do not have to test tenant's own equipment that they bring with them.
Who can carry out PAT testing?
Testing needs to be carried out by a ‘competent person’ in line with the IET’s code of practice.
How often do I need to carry out PAT testing in a rental property?
Unless the frequency is specified by law, it is recommended that you carry out a risk assessment in each property you own to see how frequently your equipment should be checked.
Take into consideration:
- How often the equipment is used
- How many people are living in the property, as well as if they are older or have disabilities
- How old the equipment is
- The environment the equipment is used in
Small and portable items like vacuum cleaners and kettles are more likely to get damaged than larger appliances like fridges or televisions, meaning they should be tested more often.
Should I test appliances before a tenant moves in?
We recommend carrying out PAT testing when a tenancy changes.
This will give you peace of mind that a new tenant will move into the house with everything in a safe condition.
Do I have to get PAT testing done if I have Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)?
If you let HMOs, you may need to have a valid PAT test certificate to receive licensing from your local council.
Different councils have different requirements. We recommend getting in touch with the council authority that your property is in to find out whether your property is considered an HMO, if you need to carry out PAT testing, and the recommended frequency.
Do I have to get PAT testing done if I rent out long-term accommodation?
It depends on where your accommodation is located. Some councils may have a landlord licensing scheme in place. In order to stay compliant, you may need to have PAT testing carried out. We would recommend that you check with your local authority to see if they have a scheme in place.
If your local council doesn't have a scheme in place, you do not have to get PAT testing done.
However, a valid PAT testing certificate can show your tenants that you are doing all you can to keep them safe.
Do I have to get PAT testing done if I rent out holiday homes?
If you rent out accommodation across the UK (England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland), whether an apartment, holiday cottage, Airbnb rental or caravan, you do not have to get PAT testing carried out.
However, as a landlord, you do have a duty of care towards guests to keep your electrical equipment safe. If anyone is hurt in an accident caused by faulty electrical equipment, you could be liable.
Electrical equipment in holiday cottages, apartments and caravans is generally more prone to wear and tear as guests handle equipment less carefully than they would at home. With this in mind, we’d advise that you or your maintenance staff give your equipment a quick visual check when guests leave.
If you promote your holiday let through a third-party agency, they may ask to see evidence of PAT testing as a requirement before they advertise your property.
What are the landlord PAT testing requirements in Scotland?
The rules above apply to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
If you are in Scotland, testing in all long-term rental properties is a legal requirement under The Housing (Scotland) Act 2014.
This means you must have any electrical equipment that comes with the property PAT tested at least every five years.
Is there anything else I need to have done?
If you are a landlord, it is a legal requirement to have any electrical installations (for example, light fittings, circuit breakers and sockets) tested through EICR.
This must be done every five years.
You also need to get fire risk assessments carried out to identify potential fire risks and improvements that need to be made to ensure tenants can safely leave the building in an emergency.
In conclusion: If you rent out long-term accommodation in Scotland, you need to have PAT testing carried out by law. If you are in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, you will need to check with your local council.
If you don't need to carry out PAT testing, it can still help keep your rental property and your tenants safe.
Looking for PAT testing for a rental home?
Whether you have a one home you let out or a rental portfolio, Hawkesworth can help.
We provide a thorough electrical equipment testing service across the country, and can carry out out-of-hours testing at no extra charge.
We can also help you with your EICR inspections, keeping both your equipment and electrical installations protected, for your peace of mind.
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