Archive for October, 2011

End of R22 is nigh!

Most people, these days, give some consideration to the environment particularly if forced to do so by regulations e.g. when recycling rubbish, disposing of a domestic refrigerator, or paying for plastic bags etc.  However, how many property occupiers stop to think about the ozone layer before switching on their premises’ air conditioning system?

Air conditioning has long been a tenant’s market requirement albeit that its existence can lead to higher rentals and the monetary cost of regular servicing and maintenance can be high.  Maintenance often includes topping up the system with a HCFC gas known as ‘R22’, a widely used refrigerant.  However, R22 falls foul of European Regulations and a gradual ban on its use has been in existence since 2004.  A total ban is faced from 1 January 2015.  Until then, maintenance engineers may use a decreasing amount of recycled R22 in existing systems.

And then what happens?  Without R22 some plant and machinery will become un-maintainable and will need to be replaced.  Pursuant to the Regulations, it is the ‘operator’ who is responsible for compliance i.e. the person exercising power over the technical functioning of the equipment and system.  However, it is in the arena of landlords and tenants where problems will really arise.  The answer as to who pays replacement costs will depend on the wording of the particular lease involved.  One of the questions to be asked is whether un-maintainable plant and machinery amounts to it being out of repair?  This has implications for both covenants to repair and service charge payments.  Further, the uncertainty will almost certainly lead to disputes when negotiating a new lease, at lease renewal and at rent review.

If you wish to discuss further, why not contact Hatherleigh Training?