Passing-on cost of extra PAT/PIR-recommended work?

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    Passing-on cost of extra PAT/PIR-recommended work?

    If PAT/PIR testing reports a recommendation of adding extra wall sockets for the large amount of electrical equipment a tenant has (for size of flat anyway), to reduce no. gang plugs/trailing cables needed, can the LL pass on the cost of the work to the tenant directly (or suggest sharing cost)?

    Even a temporary increase in rent and into a rolling 1-month-notice-period AST would require a new contract, yes?

    In this specific case, even running a toaster and freezer safely in the kitchen area (beyond what the LL provided in the part-furnished flat) without multi-adaptors would require extra sockets. These sockets also closest amenable for TV and other gear.
    Last edited by sporadic; 09-04-2009, 00:13 AM. Reason: "no," -> "no." typo fix & to clarify

    #2
    What is being PAT tested here? LL and tenant stuff?

    Can you clarify if the PAT tester is testing LL gear AND tenant items as well? I'm a bit confused...

    You should only be PAT testing the LL stuff only and all recommendations should be based around the LL gear installation only i.e. no tenant items installed - tenant installs should never be certified or reviewed by the LL's PAT tester. (the LL could be taking on a responsibility that they cannot manage and it may come back to bite them!).

    If the tenant installs their multi-way plugs and overloads them, etc... it's not the LL's responsibility to manage or track this (unless it causes a clear danger to the property - e.g. during a tenancy visit, you see bare live wires running across the property OR electrical heaters perched above a bath... etc... I know these examples are silly, but it's only the obvious stuff that you can react to). The tenant owns this responsibility as they have full control over their install and usage...

    In regards to installing additional sockets - do you still want to do this? If so, the cost split is a judgment call you need to make, there is no fast and hard rules here (and it often depends on your relationship with the tenant).

    As always, this is my personal view...

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by schocca View Post
      Can you clarify if the PAT tester is testing LL gear AND tenant items as well? I'm a bit confused...
      PAT testing happening on LL in-built provided facilities like fridge, electric hob, kettle, oven fan hood AND all tenants mains-powered eletrical items, by LL's request and specified in separate agreements signed when signing initial AST contract. LL required this before Ts can become tenants (in an HMO). Also requested before any 2nd-hand mains electricals used in flats.

      Originally posted by schocca View Post
      You should only be PAT testing the LL stuff only and all recommendations should be based around the LL gear installation only i.e. no tenant items installed - tenant installs should never be certified or reviewed by the LL's PAT tester. (the LL could be taking on a responsibility that they cannot manage and it may come back to bite them!).
      How do you mean, "taking on a responsibility"? Do you mean once they start with this, they are expected to be responsible for T's own equipment forever more? Or that if any probs with any of T's equipment later, T's have get-out clause from LL's efforts to get reparation that "well, it PAT tested fine...."? (we all know PAT testing is like MOT testing cars, ie. no guarantee of its safety in use)

      I am aware that the HMO licence requires evidence of LL keeping his equipment in order (usu. by PAT testing) but says nothing of tenant's own electricals (if I understand correctly) and know this is all above and beyond what is required for certification; this matches the LL's whole attitude with fire-protection and general safety precautions and worries being above and beyond what you would see in most tenanted accommodation.

      Originally posted by schocca View Post
      property - e.g. during a tenancy visit, you see bare live wires running across the property OR electrical heaters perched above a bath... etc...
      Well there's nothing like that, although the report did point out some regular plug sockets that should be hardwired/were in unsuitable locations (eg near heat, or near water sources).

      Originally posted by schocca View Post
      As always, this is my personal view...
      So although LL quotes the report as saying the extra wall sockets are recommended, its entirely optional but for the LL's high standards.
      Last edited by sporadic; 09-04-2009, 02:11 AM. Reason: removed pointlessly-quoted section

      Comment


        #4
        Re – Landlord’s responsibility...

        Hmm, I’m going to describe two extreme and silly scenarios, with sticky ends, that highlight why I would not PAT test tenant equipment (or have comments made about tenant installations on LL reports) – This is all my personal view (and a decent bucketful of salt may be required! )...

        Scenario A) Long extension leads and the inductance effect...
        Situation:
        Tenant A has had their equipment PAT tested by the LL. This includes a 3KW electrical heater and a very long extension lead (say 15M). Both are situated in different parts of the house when PAT testing takes place. The PAT test report comments on other extension leads and suggests addition of electrical sockets to cater for this.

        What happens next:
        The tenant is cold and brings in the long extension lead and the 3KW heater into their bedroom. The heater blows the 3amp fuse in the long extension lead, so the tenant replaces this with a 13AMP version. Tenant is now warm and moves the heater to a position where the long extension lead is fully coiled up.
        The coil inductance effect creates unwanted heat in the extension cable which melts the insulation and lights flammable objects nearby (see, I said that the scenario was a bit silly). The tenant expires due to smoke inhalation.

        As the property is a HMO, the resultant investigation notes that the landlord needs electrical safety tests to meet the 2004 legislation. The PAT test report is produced that highlights the extension lead comments. Additionally, the long extension lead would have a PAT test sticker on it stating that the cable was PAT tested.

        Scenario B) PAT testing tenant equipment on a multi-year basis – the missing PAT test...
        Situation:
        The Situation is the same as scenario A, but the tenant stays for two years. On year two, the second PAT test misses the 3KW heater as this is put into a cupboard prior to the PAT test (so the 3KW heater is only labelled with the PAT test result from the earlier year).

        What happens next:
        The tenant is cold again and pulls the heater from the cupboard. In doing so, they twist the power cord violently – this bares the live wire and pulls the earth connection away from the heater housing. When he puts on the heater and adjusts the heater, he inadvertently makes the live wire touch the heater housing and is instantly electrocuted. The tenant expires.

        Again, during the investigation, your PAT test results are pulled, but it is noted that the 3KW heater was not tested this year, but does have a PAT test result for a prior year.

        There are a few issues to consider (apart from the poor expired tenant and the emotional response all round).
        1) Scenario A) How do you prove that the 13AMP fuse was not installed by yourself?
        2) Scenario A) How do you prove that the heater and extension lead were owned by the tenant?
        3) Scenario A) How do you prove that you have considered the extension lead comments highlighted by the test? Are they even valid comments? What happens if the tenant ignores you, how do you enforce this? How do you prove that the extension lead comments are not related to the installation of the long extension lead?
        4) Scenario B) How do you prove that the heater is not a LL device? How do you prove that the tenant forgot to put this device in for PAT testing?

        By PAT testing tenant equipment, you can confuse the LL/Tenant equipment ownership. Additionally, you have placed yourself at further risk due to the comments regarding the tenant installation. It’s probable that a landlord would not be found at issue here, BUT you have moved the “who’s responsible?” question from a clear Landlord/Tenant answer into a grey area.

        One way to fix this is to perform two separate tests – one for your equipment and one for the tenant (and ask the PAT tester to use different stickers). You give the results to the tenant and it’s their personal responsibility to act on it.

        I have not touched on confirming the capability of the PAT tester or confirmation that their gear has been calibrated correctly (are you taking on this responsibility for the tenant?).

        Additionally, what happens if the PAT tester DOES condemn tenant equipment? What happens if this is their prized Sony PS3? Are you going to ban this from the property?

        Overall, it’s a bit of a small storm in a teacup and my personal opinions, but I’m still hesitant about testing tenant gear.

        -------------

        In regards to the report comments about sockets being close to heat/water sources, this sounds likely to be 100% LL items to resolve – does this match your view?

        Comment


          #5
          I would say that you as a landlord have a duty of care to ensure that you provide adequate sockets for 'normal' use in a kitchen without having to resort to adaptors or trailing leads. What do we normally expect - kettle, toaster, microwave, coffee maker, fridge, washing machine, dishwasher etc.

          sockets cannot be within 300mm of the water/heat source so trailing leads should not be allowed in the kitchen area. However 17th edition of building regs requires that ALL circuits be protected by RCD. Dont see how you could charge this work back to the tenant - but would be interested to see how you get on!

          To add to a scenario: tenant wants a radio on a shelf above the sink but the socket is too far away. They buy an extension lead, plug it in and whilst they are washing up the shelf falls off the wall into the sink electrocuting them. Who is liable? The tenant says they they are unaware of the regs and the only place they could put the radio was above the shelf because there were not enough sockets elsewhere in the kitchen. You claim in court that you have no control over the tenant buying the lead as they are readily available, but the prosecution bases its case on the fact that there were not enough sockets so what else could their client do!

          This is such a litigious society we have to cover ourselves as best we can even for the potential stupidity of tenants. As for the PAT testing - only do your own stuff. No requirement in law (yet) for landlord to have to test tenants own items. However if it an HMO who has the responsibility to ensure the other residents safety if other tenants are using faulty electrical gear? Huge grey area I would suggest!

          Comment


            #6
            Need some advice please.
            My son and his wife have just signed a contract (yesterday) and paid the deposit in cash to rent a house. Today, via a phone call they have found out that the kitchen has no electric plugs available for any appliances. The only site is a double socket five foot up a wall near the back door to the right of the kitchen(the landlord says that this is for a fridge freezer and for an extension lead for all other electrical appliances) the only worktops are on the other side of the kitchen (approx 10 foot away) on the left wall. The landlord said to get a long extension llead and lay it accross the floor, cover it with a carpet and use that. The only workspace available is about 2 foot in width and is next to the sink and cooker. The landlord said that kettle/toaster/microwave/fish fryer etc., can be swapped back and forth when needed or that they can be carried into other rooms for use. My son has a very busy two year old and finds this terrifying. They set a date to move in in two weeks time. Also the kitchen leads straight into a bathroom (the only bathroom) and the back door to the garden is in the back wall of the bathroom. The kitchen door is not able to be used to enter the garden. Therefore if you use the bathroom there is no access to and from the garden.

            What can they do, will they lose their deposit if they don't go ahead and what about the contract they signed?

            Kind regards
            Mags

            Comment

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