What Is PAT Testing ?

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For landlords and employers PAT testing is a familiar phrase, but what exactly is PAT testing ?

PAT testing is the abbreviated version of portable appliance testing, portable appliances meaning relatively movable electrical appliances such as computers, microwaves, monitors, washing machines and a whole host of other electrical appliances which can be moved. The law legals employers to ensure electrical appliances are not dangerous for their employees to use, this comes under The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.  What PAT testing offers is the quickest and easiest way to comply with this regulation. Another example of this would be if an employer is paying for accommodation for an employee, then it is the employers responsibility to ensure all appliances within the rented property are not dangerous. This applies because they employer is paying for the accommodation not the employee themselves. If the employee were to rent a house of their own accord, this would not apply, the landlord would still have a responsibility to ensure all electrical appliances are safe to use, however because the employer is paying the rent for the house they must see proof that the appliances have been tested and that is where the PAT test applies to them.

For landlords PAT testing is again the quickest way to meet their legal obligations, however, it is not a legal requirement. For HMO properties a PAT test is a requirement, HMO standing for house in multiple occupation, which means more than one household lives in the property, it then becomes a legal requirement for that property. If you rent your property to an employer who will be relocating an employee you will be required to carry out a PAT test to meet the employers legal obligations under The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. Some letting agents may require a PAT test prior to advertising your property for lease because they may deal with alot of companies who will be relocating employees from other locations so having a PAT test carried out not only ensures your appliances are in good working order and safe, it also identifies those that are not and should be replaced in order to meet your legal requirements as a landlord.

In reality PAT testing is the fastest way to check appliances for their safety and although for landlords of non HMO properties it is not a legal required, despite the landlord being legally obligated to ensure all electrical appliances within the property are safe, many letting agencies and indeed prospective tenant may well request the results of a PAT test so it makes sense to have the testing carried out for both peace of find and compliance should the new tenant be an employer relocating an employee.

PAT testing is not expensive, is a tax deductible expense for your business and can be claimed as an expense as a landlord.

How Often Should An Appliance Be tested ?

Firstly there is no legal time frame for testing, however it is not as straight forward as that. If you rent your property to company who will be placing an employee in the property, a PAT test will be required for the employer to meet their legal requirements. As general rule, frequently used appliances should be test more frequently than appliances which as not used as often. An annual test is not required by law, a sensible approach is when an old tenant for example leaves a property it would be practical to have the testing carried out then ready for the new tenant. Larger employers are likely to be more regular with testing due to their added responsibilities for their employees safety. Commonsense should be used, if an appliance looks damaged or the appliance power cable is frayed or damaged this appliance may well have a higher chance of being faulty or causing injury to a person and it would be best to replace the power cord with a new one have the appliance tested to ensure it is safe to use.


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