The law is very clear. Landlords must ensure that electrical appliances must ensure that they are safe. It makes sense that to ensure this is the the case; appliances must be regularly inspected and maintained. Most business owners are clear about what they need to do. Can the same be said of landlords?

PAT Testing in rented accommodation is considered an absolute “must” by some landlords, while other landlords have the opinion that “There is no law that says I need to PAT Test” So which is right?

The Government* say:

Your landlord must make sure:

  • the electrical system is safe, for example sockets and light fittings
  • all appliances they supply are safe, for example cookers and kettles

Source: 18/10/2018

Landlords need to inspect and maintain portable electrical appliances regularly. There is no actual law that says they “must PAT Test” However; in the event of a fire or accident involving a portable electrical appliance. The landlord will need to show that they have regularly inspected and maintained the portable electrical appliances.

Is a Risk Assessment needed?

It makes sense for the landlord to carry out a risk assessment. When it comes to electrical safety the buildings wiring as well as any appliances need to be considered and included in the risk assessment with the frequency of inspection determined. Lots of factors contribute to the frequency of PAT Testing such as how old the appliance is how and where it is used and so on.

How do you demonstrate that you inspect and maintain portable electrical appliances?

This is why PAT Testing in rented accommodation makes sense, and why most scrupulous landlords do PAT Test. PAT Testing is the standardised way of routinely inspecting and maintaining portable electrical appliances. It uses straightforward guidance from the IET (Institute of Engineering and Technology) who establish best practice to ensure that the correct practices are put in place.

So what is involved in PAT Testing in rented accommodation?

PAT Testing is pretty straightforward. You don’t need any formal qualification to do it. You just need sufficient knowledge so that you are competent. For some this may mean learning about what is involved in PAT Testing. Others might prefer to attend a formal course. We run a completely free online PAT Testing course that introduces you to the fundamentals of PAT Testing. It is completely free to do, all you need to do is input your name and your email address. There is no restriction, you can do the course as many times as you like. Click below to do the course:


free online pat testing course


What PAT Testing equipment is required?

When PAT Testing rented accommodation, it makes sense to use a simple Pass or Fail PAT Tester. This means that you do not need to get extensive training as the machine will indicate simply whether or not there is a problem. Other than that you will need Pass / Fail labels, a screwdriver and somewhere to record the appliance information test outcomes. Our PAT Testing Kit also comes with a full instructional DVD, all of the necessary testing leads and batteries as well as a case to keep the PAT Tester safe in. You may also need a supply of new plugs and fuses in case you come across any that need replacing.

Landlord PAT Test

So what is PAT Testing?

PAT Testing comprises of a full visual inspection followed by a PAT Test. Finally a function test (where appropriate) to ensure that the appliance is working correctly. You can see how to carry out a full visual inspection in this excerpt of our video.

Is there anything else to consider?

When it comes to PAT Testing in rented accommodation, landlords can choose to do the PAT Testing themselves or contract the work out to a third party. When making a decision about what suits you; consider the following:

  • The landlord is responsible for the checks whether they are done in house or subcontracted.
  • PAT Testing takes time; if a contractor says they can inspect 10 or 20 items per hour, they probably aren’t doing the inspection properly.
  • By doing your own PAT Testing, it can be done at a time that suits you and your tenant.

Can Parker Bell help?

Yes! Parker Bell has been supplying PAT Testing equipment and training to the UK for more than 20 years. We are happy to give you free impartial advice and support. You can call us anytime between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Other useful independent resources:

Electrical Safety First is charity that provides impartial advise on using electricity safely. They have some useful information for both landlords and tenants.