Chris Edwards, AESM Technical Safety Manager comments:-
This is unfortunately another example of non specific guidance and, as mentioned in previous posts, demonstrates reluctance to issue a one size fits all, and potentially ineffective, guideline.
The burden is on the landlord to ensure that where a landlord provides an electrical appliance as part of a tenancy, the law expects the appliance will be maintained in a safe condition that will not cause harm to the tenant. Portable appliance testing is not currently a legal requirement, but it is considered to be best practise and one way of demonstrating planned preventative maintenance. The issue, as always, is how often should these be performed.
A risk assessment should be completed, taking into account the type of equipment, frequency of use, working environment etc. Portable appliance testing doesn’t need to be conducted annually unless specific risks indicate that it should be. However, you should to be able to demonstrate that the appliances are being inspected and / or tested at intervals that reflect the risk. An inspection doesn’t need to be performed by a fully qualified tester, but by someone who may have relatively frequent access and that is deemed competent to do so. So with a little training, this could be performed by anyone who has frequent access to the property i.e. liaison officer or similar, as long as records of the checks are kept.
There is reference material available, which in some cases refers to privately rented accommodation, but ultimately addresses the same risks.
The assessment of the risks would be performed accordingly.
Useful links below:-
Maintaining Portable Electrical Equipment HSG10 https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg107.htm
Electrical Safety First Best Practise Guide 6 https://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/professional-resources/best-practice-guides/
Maintaining portable electric equipment in low-risk environments https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg236.htm
Electrical Safety and You https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg231.pdf