Landlords, Housing Associations and
  PAT Testing

As we understand it there is no statutory obligation on landlords or agents to have professional checks carried out on the electrical system or appliances, so landlords and tenants are left to interpret an obscure mass of legislation and authoritative guidance notes.

However, under Common Law and various statutory regulations - see below - a statutory duty of care is imposed by implication on Landlords and Employers with respect to the safety of electrical equipment.

We have been in the field of electrical safety since 2005 so I am going to outline our understanding of current requirements.

How does legislation affect Landlords?

If you are already in the Landlord or Housing Association sector it is likely that you will already be familiar with these requirements – so this is more of a succinct reminder and update. Under Common Law and various statutory regulations such as:

However, we understand that the principal Act of Parliament that offers Landlords and Tenants the most security and safety is:

The Consumer Protection Act 1987 (which includes The Electrical Equipment (Safety Regulations 1994, and the Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994)

So let's see why -

The 1987 Consumer Protection Act affects anyone who lets property in the course of their business because it defines them as suppliers, i.e. you are supplying goods to the tenant.

Under the umbrella of this Act there are 4 other pieces of legislation which directly affect landlords, which you can read at your leisure and these are:

  1. The Low Voltage Electrical Equipment Regulations 1989
  2. The Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994
  3. The General Product Safety Regulations 1994
  4. The Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994

These regulations do place a duty of care on landlords and employers to ensure that all electrical equipment supplied by them is safe for use by the tenant.

Now, from a PAT Testing point of view, it is useful to know that The Consumer Protection Act may provide Landlords with a defence of 'due diligence', i.e. a landlord can defend a contravention of the Act if he can demonstrate that he took reasonable steps to avoid committing the offence.

But you will need documentary evidence of this, hence we believe that having your premises PAT tested could indicate that you have taken 'reasonable steps' in such a case, so it is important that you receive appropriate testing reports, which not only prove the items have been tested but should also serve as your renewal date.

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