Electrical Testing - Case Study

It is the responsible of the landlord to PAT test all electrical appliances provided to the tenant to ensure they are certified and safe, but not the tenants own items.  This will help compliance with the relevant legislation to minimise the risk of injury to the tenant

- Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994

- Consumer Protection Act 1985.

The landlord is required to ensure that the written user instructions/manuals for all electrical items are present in the property.

A qualified electrician should undertake an annual safety check of electrical appliances and the landlord should provide evidence of these safety checks to the tenant before the commencement of the tenancy.

In the event that a landlord fails to meet the above criteria and an incident occurs where the electrical equipment does not comply with the regulations the landlord is liable for a maximum £5000 fine or 6 months imprisonment. However, in the event of a fatality the landlord could also be charged with manslaughter, which carries far greater punishment.

An interesting case arose in Dorset in 1996 whereby the landlord was prosecuted before the tenant had even moved into the property. They feared that the electrical appliances in the property were unsafe and complained to local trading standards that they did not meet the regulations. The landlord was successfully prosecuted for their intention to leave unsafe items in the property at the start of the tenancy.

In Oxfordshire in 1998, 4 students complained to Trading Standards regarding illegal electrical items provided in a rented flat by the letting agent. A refrigerator was found to be faulty and fines amounting to £1625 were imposed.