For some time now it has been a mandatory requirement to carry out a portable appliance test (PAT) in shared properties. The current legislation states that whilst some shared houses do not require a HMO license they still require a PAT test.

Most importantly, the trigger for when a property does require a portable appliance test is when there are three or more unrelated people sharing. Unfortunately many landlords do not realise this and risk the chance of being prosecuted should they be found out.

For electrical safety there is a divide between fixed installations and portable appliances. Examples of fixed installations include:

  • Switches
  • Sockets
  • Light fittings
  • Wiring circuits
  • Circuit boards

While some appliances which can be plugged in, and are often portable, include:

  • Kettles
  • Toasters
  • Microwaves
  • Fridges and freezers
  • Electric cookers
  • Television
  • Broadband routers

There are some grey areas around what constitutes a portable appliance. For the avoidance of doubt here at Capitum we take the view that all appliances (portable of fixed) should have a portable appliance test. The cost for adding extra appliances into the PAT pest is neglible and allows the landlord the comfort of knowing that all is well.

As far as rental accommodation is concerned, the responsibility of installation and upkeep of appliances is in the hands of the landlord. Landlords are expected to guarantee the appliances are safe from the start of the tenancy and remain in good working order. Throughout the tenancy all appliances are required to be free of risk of injury to tenants. According to the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), local authorities are allowed to take action. They can force safety of electrical appliances in any residential accommodation should they see it fit.

How to avoid Local Authorities knocking on your door

If you don’t want to have to face questions from local authorities over the safety of portable appliances, there is an easy way around it. Have appliances checked once a year and obtain a PAT test certificate to validate this.

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) costs

PAT tests can easily be carried out to avoid any issues regarding appliance safety. PAT testing is not particularly expensive. You can expect to pay between £30 – £45 for one. This will typically cover testing of up to twenty appliances. Once you have a PAT test certificate you are covered if something does go wrong at a later date.

It is recommended to carry out a PAT test once a year of each time a tenancy finishes.

How do I get a PAT test?

You can quickly find companies who carry out PAT tests online or in the Yellow Pages. Additionally, there is an online directory with more information you can read here.

For information on any of the above or advice on anything relating to letting shared houses please feel free to call us on 0115 740 1800. Alternatively you can email us at