UK: A recent survey of over 2,500 businesses who bought air conditioners prior to 2004 found that nearly half of the systems are still operating on R22, despite the fact that the use of R22 for top up and servicing will be banned from January 1, 2015.
The survey which was conducted bu AirConUK's database of businesses who had bought air conditioning systems prior to the ban on new R22 equipment from January 1, 2004, found that whilst many businesses have compliant air conditioning systems some of those with pre-2004 units are struggling to come to terms with the new legislation.
Of companies still with air conditioning operating on R22;
Nearly two-thirds of those who still have systems operating on R22, cited cost as the major factor in having delayed the work.
“British businesses have known about this change for years now,” said AirConUK.co.uk spokesman Jonathan Ratcliffe, “and leaving things to the last minute is reckless in the extreme.”
Ratcliffe puts the lack of action by many companies down to the economic downturn, which has made them reluctant to invest in changes to their systems.
“We’ve known about the R22 phase-out for older systems for years now. Back then, it seemed a long way away, and troubled financial times mean that business owners are hoping to ride out the storm before paying out for the necessary changes. They are happy self-maintaining, and if it works, great."
So who pays? - If you are the owner / occupier of a commercial or residential building with air-conditioning containing R22, then you alone will be hit by the costs and you need to get your AC system altered or changed before the end of this year.
If the building is let to a single tenant and the tenant is responsible for the repair and maintenance of the whole building (including plant and equipment), it is likely that the tenant is required to replace equipment which can no longer be repaired. It will depend on the wording of the repairing covenant and your lease is the first place to look. If the landlord has responsibility for maintaining the plant and equipment then the works need to be done at his cost.
If the building is let to several tenants, then the landlord will want to recover the cost of replacement or modification through the service charge. Whether the landlord can do this is dependent on the wording of your lease. In multi-let buildings, the service charge provisions of all leases should be checked because the terms may have been negotiated and there could be differences.
Other offences - If the works are not carried out before the end of this year, tenants could not only be committing a statutory offence, but could also be in breach of the covenant in your lease (on complying with statutory obligations). This may give rise to the landlord attempting to forfeit your lease.
Don't leave it to chance - Contact your local air conditioning company today for advice on the options available - or search our directory for local air conditioning engineers near you by clicking here
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