Is PAT Testing A Legal Requirement?

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  • Is PAT Testing A Legal Requirement?


 P.A.T stands for Portable Appliance Testing. It is the name given to describe the examination of electrical appliances and equipment to ensure that they are safe to use. To find most electrical safety defects only a visual examination is necessary but some types of defects require testing.


Many landlords are not aware that there are regulations to maintain free standing electrical devices in a safe condition. Namely, the 1989 Electricity at Work Regulation. However, the regulations do not state what needs to be done, by whom, or how frequently. They also do not make it a legal requirement to undertake this annually.


The frequency of the inspection and testing depends on the type of equipment and environment it is in. For example examinations on a power tool used on a construction site should be more frequent than a lamp used in a hotel bedroom. PAT testing in real terms for landlords will mainly relate to electrical appliances. We would suggest that it takes place at least every two years or alternatively when a tenant changes over.

We have previously written an article on Electrical Safety within the private rental sector, click here to read more.


New equipment should be supplied in a safe condition and not require a formal portable appliance inspection. Also, a simple visual check will verify that it is not damaged.


Yes, the person doing the test needs to be competent. They need to have enough knowledge and training on what to look out for on a visual inspection. They need to have the right equipment to do the tests. The ability to use the test equipment properly and the ability to understand the test result. Look for a qualified electrician to carry out a PAT test.


We would suggest when it comes to students it depends on the size of the property and how often the equipment is used. In the instance of students for instance an 8 bedroom property may need to be PAT tested on a yearly basis whereby a 4 bed every two years.


The Ministry of Housing Communities have announced a new ruling on EICRs. They along with the Local Government have made it mandatory to complete electrical installation checks every five years. The new rules will roll out in stages throughout the UK.

They are yet to clarify when it will become law. The intention is for it to pass as soon as parliament allows. Letting agents and landlords will have at least six months to put in writing the legislation before it comes into force.

It looks as though a transitional period will apply for two years. In year one, all new private tenancies will be effected and in year two all existing tenancies will come within the scope.

Properties that have a valid EICR will not need to replace it until the five years have passed.

Agents must ensure that inspectors hired to issue EICRs hold the current qualifications and are competent to carry out the inspection. Tough financial penalties will apply where this isn’t complied with.

This is going to impact landlords almost immediately. It will be important in future that landlords are aware of their liabilities. It would be advisable to carry out the electrical reports in advance. We suspect that prices will go up dramatically over the next few months from electricians as they will see it as an opportunity. It is in the landlords interest to run timely EICRs and PAT tests.


 You may be aware that the Deregulation Bill has made PAT testing compulsory for HMO landlords. Most landlords, though, aren’t aware that under Health and Safety rules they should carry out PAT testing at least every two years. For some student properties every year. If a tenant was to have a personal injury due to an electrical appliance then any Insurance Company would ask for the PAT test. Not having one could result in a claim rejection.

Update July 2022.

The law has still not changed in relation to portable appliance testing as it is not yet compulsory. However, landlords need to be very aware of the consequences in the event they don’t carry it out.

After Grenfell it was determined that the fire started due to a faulty fridge. In this instance the landlord had a PAT test and therefore wasn’t liable for the unfortunate deaths that took place.

However, it is accepted now under the health and safety executives that landlords are responsible in the event they haven’t had a PAT test and done nothing to ensure their appliances are safe. It isn’t compulsive law but it is good practise and we would always recommend it.

Update January 2023

The government have reiterated to landlords that PAT testing comes under the health and safety executive.

The electricity Act work regulations 1989 require any electrical equipment that has potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition. However, the regulations do not specify what needs to be done, by whom or how frequently.

The frequency of inspection and testing depends on the type of equipment and the environment it is used in. For instance our understanding from our own electricians is that where you have residential property it should be every two years. Where you have student accommodation as there is more people it should be every year.

Whilst there is no legal requirement to label the equipment as inspected or tested there is however a requirement for you to be able to prove in the event there is an issue. A record can be useful as a management tool for monitoring this. If there was a fire at the property and electrical testing had not taken place or the testing had not been done for landlords then how can you show the equipment was safe? You need to show whether the equipment has been a pass or a fail in your rental property and if there was an issue you dealt with it immediately. There has been occasions where landlords have not done testing, appliances have burnt down and caused fire to properties. It is in the interest of the landlord to ensure that they can show when it was tested it was safe.

Do I need a test on new equipment?

New equipment should be supplied in a safe condition and does not require a formal portable appliance inspection or test.

When carrying out a test we always instruct an electrician. The person testing the equipment needs to be competent to do so. There needs to be an inspection and testing taken place and the right equipment has to be used in order to carry out these tests. The electrician needs the ability to use the test equipment properly and the ability to understand the test results. There may be again a pass or fail in relation to the equipment and this is very relevant to rental properties.

The legalisation has been updated and is covered in various areas.

This comes under the health and safety at work Act 1974, electricity at work regulations of 1989, provision and use of work equipment regulation 1998 and the management of health and safety at work regulations 1999.

The law requires all employers to maintain a portable appliances and ensure they are safe. This is done through testing an appliance and to safe guard against damage and to make these perform properly.

PAT testing law requires all landlords and employers to ensure that their PAT tests are safe and suitable and used for the purpose intended. These appliances should always be maintained properly and maintain in good working order.

The guidelines are designed to make certain that this equipment is kept protected and preserved through regular maintenance as well as inspections and periodic testing. Damage and fault can occur with all electrical equipment use. Makin it essential that these items are tested regularly for safety.

PAT testing.

PAT testing is done to ensure that all electrical equipment is classed as “portable” is deemed safe for use.

This PAT testing equipment is used to test portable appliances and ensure they meet the regulations. There are a number of PAT testing machines that can be used. These run from the most basic to the professional models.

This is why it is so important that you use a professional in order to carry this out. The alternative is to obtain your pat safety machine and ensure you deal with it.

PAT testing is a health and safety issue.

The health and safety executive estimates that more than 25% of all accidents relate to the use that involves a portable appliance. Portable appliances can include computers and monitors, printers, toasters, fridges, kettles and typically anything else used in every day tasks.

By carrying out PAT testing it allows you to confirm to the health and safety executive that  you comply with all regulations.. You protect yourself as well as tenants from electrical injuries. The health and safety executive have PAT testing guidelines to help you reduce your risk of injury or fire from portable appliances. This needs to ensure you are compliant with RSO 9000/1 as well as BS5750. These guidelines help satisfy the requirements that may be set by insurance companies as well.

Did you know that if you didn’t have a portable appliance test and your appliance does cause a fire your insurance can refuse to pay out. Why not speak to our sister company iInsure 365 regarding a quote by clicking here. Or you can call them direct on 01273 827090 or

If you want a free 30 minute consultation to make sure your property is compliant please don’t hesitate to contact.

Want a free valuation on your property? Why not contact us on 01273 724000 to book this.

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google-review Review
17:30 22 Feb 24
Have been very accommodating and helpful when calling agents. They have been very helpful in being able to secure a house for students.
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Went above and beyond to get things sorted for me
Brittany Stace
Brittany Stace
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Harringtons have been incredibly helpful and supportive of us as new renters and they have been super efficient in getting all of the documents sent through and signed in such a short period of time. Thank you!
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Georgie Prebble
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Jade Innes
Jade Innes
10:24 04 Jan 24
So far the service has been good. The staff are very friendly and quick to respond to any questions and requests.
Polly Smith
Polly Smith
11:17 28 Dec 23
we chose this letting agents as they chose a good bills company that is much cheaper than other agents. When viewing houses the staff were very friendly and have been very helpful in answering our questions and making the process as easy as possible.
Emma Howe
Emma Howe
16:06 14 Nov 23
I would rate Harringtons Lettings a 5/5. Very lovely on the phone and very quick and easy to communicate with via email. Any problems have been resolved in no time at all. So far so good!I found Harringtons via Rightmove.
Akwisitions Feedback
Akwisitions Feedback
16:25 30 Oct 23
Very responsive and super helpful throughout the process. Highly recommended!
Chloe Ballard
Chloe Ballard
17:28 02 Oct 23
Although I have only been renting with Harringtons for a short period of time, I have had nothing but a positive experience. From viewing to admin updates. The admin team especially are very polite and quick to respond and I have no doubt that the rest of my tenancy will run smoothly. I would recommend to anyone considering renting in brighton.
Matthew Ball
Matthew Ball
11:46 19 Sep 23
Professional communication with tenant although entirely impersonal. There was a bigger disconnect in their communication with the landlord in most cases, which seemed to be either slow or non-existent (discovered after contacting the landlord directly).Property was full of spider webs on day 1 despite apparently being professionally cleaned. Took a day off of work to clean it on move out day, leaving it cleaner than when it received but still had to pay part of the deposit for professional cleaning.It has been a while since I have rented, but I'll avoid letting agencies completely now if this is anything close to the average renting experience.
Ronan SK
Ronan SK
12:38 12 Sep 23
Great professionalism/communciation from the start up until the end of my tenancy. Definitely set the standards for what agencies should be like. Highly recommend to those within Brighton.
Daniel Sutton
Daniel Sutton
10:29 24 Aug 23
I have rented with Harringtons Lettings before and have always found the agents to be quick, efficient, friendly and helpful. I loved their service so much I have chosen to rent with Harringtons again. Faultless 😊
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