A chilling end for R22 – But will you catch a cold?

17 May 2013

1 January 2015 will be a key date in many forthcoming disputes between landlords and tenants as to who is to bear the cost of replacing air conditioning systems. On that date EU Regulations come into effect prohibiting the use of R22 (and other gases) when maintaining air conditioning systems.

What needs to be done and by whom will vary dependent on the terms of the lease, the technical circumstances and the maintenance history of the plant. The painful truth however, is that the costs of completely replacing a system if it involves replacing all internal elements can be huge and massively disruptive to the operation of a business. In worst case scenarios you could be looking at a seven figure sum.

Practically there are often a variety of possible solutions and questions of balancing the cost benefits of replacement as opposed to refurbishment. But the shortest simplest and best advice if you have an interest whether as landlord or tenant in a building served by air conditioning plant is to find out whether it operates using a banned gas such as R22 and if it does take the following steps:

1. Get your lawyer to immediately advise as to what your responsibilities under your lease are in respect of the air conditioning plant;

2. If your lawyer advises you have a responsibility seek advice from an air conditioning specialist; and

3. Above all develop a strategy and a timetable for dealing with the issues otherwise come the 1 January 2015 you might catch a cold you will never forget.

To read our full briefing, please see below.

For further information, please contact Peter Bertram.

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