The EICR covers installations and fixed electrical equipment, whereas PAT testing covers testing the safety of appliances. For the purpose of the PAT, “appliances” means movable electrical equipment.
A PAT test must be completed by a competent person, which means either:
- A skilled person (electrically), or
- A person (including the landlord) who has completed appropriate training as a PAT tester (see Annex C).
The PAT test can be completed with a PAT tester device. Electricians may not hold one of these, but they will have a set of test equipment that allows them to undertake the full range of testing required by BS7671 which is capable of carrying out electrical safety tests on appliances that would verify no danger exists in the event of an appliance fault.
A PAT test requires a label for each appliance tested. IET provide forms for providing a record of appliances that have been tested (see Annex D)
Appliances include –
- Electrical white goods (such as refrigerators and washing machines),
- Electrical brown goods (such as televisions and DVD players),
- Electric fires that are not fixed in place,
- Kitchen appliances, such as toasters and kettles,
- Hand held electrical equipment, such as hairdryers, and
- Any other appliances provided by the landlord that are not permanently connected to the electrical installation.
- Any appliance which fails to pass a Portable Appliance Test must be replaced or repaired immediately to comply with the repairing standard.
The duty to carry out electrical safety inspections does not apply to appliances that belong to tenants, only to appliances provided by the landlord.
Frequency of Inspection
An electrical safety inspection must be carried out –
- Before a tenancy starts, and
- During the tenancy, at intervals of no more than 5 years from the date of the previous inspection.
The electrical safety inspection does not have to be completed immediately before a new tenancy begins or every time a new tenancy starts, as long as an inspection has been carried out in the period of 5 years before the tenancy starts.
The electrical safety inspection must be recorded in an EICR and a PAT report.
EICRs may be appropriate more frequently. The date for retesting appliances is usually set during the PAT test and will usually be more frequent. The minimum standard to comply with the legislation is that inspections must be carried out at least every 5 years, but this does not preclude more frequent testing where appropriate.
Tenants cannot be required to pay for or contribute towards the cost of an electrical inspection, unless ordered to do so by the First-tier Tribunal for Scotland.
If a landlord cannot carry out an inspection because they do not have right of access to all or part of the property, or lack any other necessary right, they are not in breach of their duties in relation to the repairing standard, provided that they have taken reasonable steps to acquire that right.
Copy of inspection
The landlord must receive and keep a copy of the EICR and PAT report for six years. A copy of the most recent EICR and PAT report must be given to a person who is to become a tenant before a tenancy starts. If an inspection is carried out during a tenancy a copy relating to that inspection must be given to the tenant.