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Campaign for mandatory electrical testing of appliances in rental properties

An electrical testing equipment firm and an MP are setting up a national campaign to demand new laws on appliance testing in rental properties.

The company, Seaward, and Labour MP Grahame Morris are making the move ahead of the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Morris has sponsored a Parliamentary Early Day Motion and the firm is encouraging insurers to take portable appliance testing into account when evaluating tenanted premises.


Seaward claims PAT testing can highlight problems a tenant or landlord may not be aware of, such as simple wear and tear, recalled items or counterfeit appliances that don’t meet UK safety standards. 

Government statistics for 2016-17 show that a faulty electrical appliance was the second largest cause of accidental house fires in the UK and Seaward says that while Scotland adopted new mandatory electrical testing standards for rented properties in 2015 there are no legal requirements for landlords to carry out regular PAT tests in the rest of the UK.

“I fully support Seaward’s important fire safety campaign. Electrical faults are one of the leading causes of domestic fires, and are cited as a possible cause of the Grenfell Tower tragedy” says Morris, the MP for Easington in County Durham.

“Regular PAT testing can ensure that electrical faults are identified, helping to prevent potentially lethal fires. It’s a quick, easy and affordable process that can save lives and protect property.”

The campaign is also backed by PAT testing company Hawkesworth Appliance Testing.

“We’ve seen substantial growth of fake and counterfeit items which without doubt have made their way into rented homes putting lives at risk. It is vital those items along with standard deteriorating appliances are checked, identified and taken out of service” says Michael Kiddle, UK operations director of Hawkesworth.

Poll: Is mandatory electrical testing of appliances in rental properties required?


  • Fed Up Landlord

    "The campaign is also backed by PAT testing company Hawkesworth Appliance Testing"

    Go on the NLAs PAT testing course.£100. Get the kit to do it. £100. Charge the landlord for it- £100 per property. Landlord puts it on the rent- £10 a month. Cost to tenant £120 over 12 months. And that's a conservative estimate. Or don't put portable appliances in properties.

  • icon

    Just when you thought they'd run out of ideas to extract more cash from the rental sector. Next stop "rents too high".....I wonder why

    All sounds a bit opportunistic. If they were serious then they'd want this implemented in all owner-occupied properties as well as they far outnumber rentals

  • icon

    Seaward would say that wouldn't they? They are a large vested interest. I am sure the labour MP will get a fee for their interest.

    As a landlord I can do my own PAT tests - legally. In a flat they are a waste of time. What is not a waste of time is going into the flat and looking for obvious problems and sorting them out. Any one above fool level can do that. The regs say a competent person so that probably rules out labour MPs.

    Why do I say, "A waste on time". Pat tests will not detect faulty/poor designs. They may well detect manufacturing faults but it is the design problems that cause the fires. Topically that would be dust build up on the heaters in a tumble dryer. Dry dust is a very good electrical insulator so a PAT test will not register a fault there.

    You can not legislate for everything. We had plenty of house fires before the days of electricity. A PAT test will not detect a candle falling over.

    Reading further I can see a comment about fake items. Such things need finding long before they get to retail sales but not all fakes are dangerous . If they are Chinese then they could be the original product rebadged and or slightly redesigned to hide them from the brand owner.

  • Andrew Hill

    This is something which appears reasonable on the surface but surely it's just another burden? Do tenants check the electrical safety of the goods they purchase each year? Whilst we agree something has to be done to ensure safe electrical infrastructure similar to how gas safety is carried out, it shouldn't apply to portable appliances supplied by the landlord for use by the tenants; if the item becomes damaged, the tenant can inform the landlord or agent who can repair or replace the item - PAT testing is an unnecessary cost which will be translated into higher rents (as with all increased costs for landlords and agents).

    These increased rents are going to spark the next Shelter campaign, us greedy agents and landlords charging extortionate, rapidly increasing rents, pushing the lowest income earners out of the most deprived areas, discriminating against those on benefits because their housing benefit allowance simply isn't enough to cover the costs... I can see it now; of course, the likes of Shelter and The Tenant's Voice will be blind to the impacts of their successful campaigns to end tenant fees and impose stricter, more expensive controls over the private rented sector.

    As SCN Lettings say, if this goes ahead, we'll simply enroll on a PAT testing course, buy the kit and add it as an extra service which would be added on to the rent for tenants to cover the costs of.


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