Is PAT Testing A Legal Requirement For Landlords?

PAT Testing in Rental Properties

I’ve noted some very conflicting information circulating regarding electrical safety in private residential rental properties (England). It’s giving me a thumping headache.

So I’m going to share my view and back it up with what I consider to be very reliable resources!

Table of contents

General overview of a landlord’s Electrical Safety responsibility

What is PAT Testing?

PAT testing is when electrical equipment and appliances are checked to ensure it is safe for use. The process includes a visual inspection as well as testing the equipment for internal faults.

Examples of items that can be PAT tested in a rental property include:

  • Stereos
  • Lawnmowers
  • Fridges
  • Microwaves
  • Kettles
  • Lamps
  • Toasters
  • Dishwashers
  • Ovens
  • Televisions
  • Lamps
  • Washing machines
  • Tumble dryers
  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Extension leads

Is PAT Testing a legal requirement for rental properties?

PAT testing is not a legal requirement for single-let properties, but it is recommended.

According to the Government issued “Guide for landlords: electrical safety standards in the private rented sector“:

The Regulations do not cover electrical appliances, only the fixed electrical installations.

We recommend that landlords regularly carry out portable appliance testing (PAT) on any electrical appliance that they provide and then supply tenants with a record of any electrical inspections carried out as good practice.

I’ve seen some people reference The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 when arguing the point that residential landlords must PAT test all electrical appliances. I’m not sure how widespread this belief is, but I have read the regulation and it seems clear to me that it only applies to commercial settings (and yes, the name kind of gives it away, “Work Regulations“). So I have no idea why it’s bought up at all when discussing residential rentals.

Basically, I have not seen one piece of regulation that explicitly says it is a legal requirement for private residential landlords to conduct PAT testing, but rather an overarching emphasis on overall electrical safety (i.e. supplied appliances need to be in safe working order).

However, I am very open to the possibility of mandatory PAT testing in the future (at which point I will update this blog post). That seems likely.

Is PAT Testing a legal requirement for HMO rentals?

Nope. PAT testing is also not a legal requirement for HMOs, but it is recommended.

Although, it is a very common misconception that PAT testing is a legal requirement for HMOs (but understandably so due to HMO licensing, which I’ll address below).

When & why should landlords carry out PAT tests?

  • First and foremost, carrying out a professional PAT test on appliances you provide with your rental property helps to uphold duty of care to your tenant, and helps avoid allegations of negligence.
  • Secondly, while PAT testing is currently not a legal requirement, some local boroughs that enforce licensing may request it as a condition of issuing a licence to rent out your property. Each local council works differently and will have their own set of rules, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer.

    This applies to both HMO properties that are subject to HMO licensing and single-let properties that are subject to the selective licensing scheme.

Are landlords responsible for the safety of tenant’s appliances?


Tenant’s are responsible for any electrical items they bring into the property.

Once again, I will quote the Government’s handy “Guide for landlords: electrical safety standards in the private rented sector“:

Tenants are responsible for making sure that any of their own electrical appliances are safe.

My letting agent says I need to PAT test appliances

This could be true if your local council requires PAT testing as a condition of obtaining a mandatory rental licence. You can contact your local council directly to get confirmation – information is usually available on their website.

If your agent has viewed your property and has raised concerns about the condition and safety of any of your appliances, that could also a valid reason for requesting PAT testing.

However, if neither of those are the case, it’s likely that they’re trying to up-sell you a service that they’ll make commission from.

How is a PAT test different from an EICR?

How much does it cost for professional PAT testing?

It varies, I’ve seen prices range from £70 – £200.

Location of property and number of appliances that need testing will impact price, for sure.

Who is allowed to do PAT testing in rental properties?

According to (the electrical guide published by the Government links to this resource):

Electrical work must only be carried out by people who have the necessary knowledge, skill and experience needed to avoid danger to themselves and others.

No, it’s not necessarily very informative.

It doesn’t seem like any particular qualification is required by the person doing the tests, so a reputable and/or recommended electrician should be fine.

Buy/Order PAT testing for your rental property

If you don’t have a local and/or regular sparky, it’s easy enough to Google around for suppliers. What you’ll come across as a whole bunch of websites that offer national services, and they make it easy to book online.

Case in point, here’s one…

SupplierNotes / IncludesPrice
Notes / Includes

  • Appliances safety checked
  • Up to 10 Electrical Appliances included
  • Visual inspection & earth test
  • Replace plug tops & fuses
  • Recommended every 12 months
  • * £89 £79 if property inside M25
£119Inc VAT
(Normal price: £129)
Order Online
£10 Discount Code: PIP10

Please note, I try my best to keep the information of each service up-to-date, but you should read the T&C's from their website for the most up-to-date and accurate information.

Right, I’m about done.

I hope that’s been useful and answered all of your burning questions. If not, feel free to drop a comment below if one slipped through the net…

5 Join the Conversation...

Guest Avatar
Bob 5th January, 2023 @ 10:10

It's been two years since I created a new tenancy in OpenRent but, last time I did, they were also incorrectly claiming that landlords needed a yearly PAT.

Guest Avatar
Gordon 10th January, 2023 @ 10:35


The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 10th January, 2023 @ 10:55

What's your actual question? :)

Guest Avatar
chi 16th November, 2023 @ 22:09

i have a legal requirement from the selective licensing to do pat testing.

so, does an extractor hood above oven need pat testing.
also what about a fixed oven (a normal oven) that for convenience has a plug at the end and is plugged into a socket. on the one hand it has a plug and not hardwired, but on the other hand it is not a portable appliance as it is not moved around.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 16th November, 2023 @ 22:32

Hi Chi,

Generally speaking, anything that you provide with the property that plugs into the mains should be PAT tested. However, it might be worth getting confirmation from your local council - each borough operates differently so may have different requirements.

















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