Electrical Checks – A friend has told me that I must have the electrics PAT tested before I can rent out my property. Is this the case?
There is generally a lot of confusion about electrical checks in residential lettings and it’s something we at LandlordZONE get asked about quite a lot.
The short answer is that there is currently no legislation in England and Wales (there is now in Scotland) which says that regular electrical checks must be carried out or that a test certificate must be issued annually, as is the case with gas checks.
However, landlords should be aware that if there was an incident caused by an electrical appliance or system in a dangerous condition, which a landlord could or should have been aware of, then the landlord could be liable. In addition, there’s quite a lot of legislation in force which covers electrical safety in residential rental property. Also, some landlord insurance policies may require electrical checks – read the small print.
The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 requires that the electrical installation is safe when a tenancy begins and that it is maintained throughout. The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (Housing Act 2004) requires that rental properties “provide a safe and healthy environment for any potential occupiers”.
The Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (England) Regulations 2006 sets out the duties of a manager of HMOs which include risk assessments and the supply, maintenance and testing of the electrical supply. Part P of the Building Regulations state that electrical work must be carried out by a qualified and registered electrician.
The Electrical Safety Council recommend a full electrical system check by a qualified electrician every 5 years. A prudent landlord or letting agent will carry out due diligence checks by means of a visual inspection of all appliances, wires, plugs, fuses etc on every tenant change – it’s a good idea to document this with a check list.
PAT testing (portable appliance testing) is recommended periodically, especially with second hand or older appliances. Landlords should keep the number of appliances supplied to a minimum to minimise risk.
Some gas engineers are qualified to also carry out electrical checks when they do the annual gas checks – this saves time and trouble and is certainly a good idea for landlords who want absolute peace of mind on this.
The Electrical Safety Council produce and excellent guide on electrical safety for landlords: http://tinyurl.com/mfeg24