Leases should heed new air conditioning regulations

Occupiers and landlords should plan now to save on the cost of replacing air conditioning systems to comply with changes in the law, according to engineers at Manchester-based building consultancy Malcolm Hollis.

As of January 2015 the use of refrigerant gas HCFC R22 to maintain air conditioning units will be illegal and this will mean that many existing systems will need modifying or completely replacing. The responsibility for compliance with this law lies with the end user. However the responsibility for expense of making the changes will vary depending on specific lease terms.

Stephen Lemmon, mechanical and electrical senior associate at Malcolm Hollis, said: "Whilst not the most exciting of subjects, commercial property occupiers and owners need to start making themselves aware of the forthcoming changes as they could have huge financial implications in the coming years.

"Whether renewing a lease, moving offices or tied in to a current agreement, it is likely that advice from an engineer and property lawyer is going to be needed in negotiations with landlords. For businesses signing new leases in the next couple of years, they need to look at the air conditioning systems being used and make sure they are not paying a premium rent for conditioned offices whilst at the same time agreeing to taking on the costs of replacing the existing R22 system. Those remaining in occupancy need to be aware of what their responsibilities are, plan ahead for the changes and have an expert study the lease terms before sitting down with their landlord."

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