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AIR CONDITIONER IN CONDOMINIUM: LAW

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AIR CONDITIONER IN A CONDOMINIUM: INTRODUCTION

The air conditioner has become a common appliance in homes, and many people are running for cover so they don’t spend the summer freezing. If you are considering buying one, we can help you choose the best one for your apartment.

If you have already purchased one or want to purchase one, know that you need to pay attention to a number of rules forinstallation. Here’s what they are.

MUNICIPAL LEGISLATION

First of all, you need to check if there are any particular bans or restrictions in place in your municipality . Each municipal regulation, in fact, may impose to respect very precise distances as far as the positioning of the air conditioner is concerned or require the relative authorizations and certifications of conformity. In some cases, in order to avoid excessive visual or environmental impact of the air conditioner’s outdoor unit, it may even go so far as to prohibit its installation. Usually the most stringent rules are aimed at safeguarding the architectural harmony of buildings in the historic centre. In case of a ban, you can opt for a packaged air conditioner.

WHERE TO PLACE THE AIR CONDITIONER

Once you have checked the rules of your municipality, you need to decide where to place the air conditioner. As far as theoutdoor unit is concerned, the possible impact on the decorum of the entire condominium must first be considered. Bottom line: the less you see of the device the better. The biggest problems occur when you can’t put the outdoor unit on your balcony, but have to install it on a perimeter wall. As jurisprudence has clarified, the question of the architectural decorum of the building applies not only to the external walls, but also to the facades overlooking the internal courtyards of the building. Generally speaking, the condominium rules cannot forbid the installation of an air conditioning system, unless it is a so-called “contractual” regulation or if there has been a unanimous vote of the owners.

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COMMUNICATION TO THE ADMINISTRATOR

The first requirement that must be met by those who intend to install a hot/cold system on their balcony is to notify in advance the building manager. The Civil Code, in fact, states that whoever carries out works inside his own apartment, must inform the administrator; the latter, in turn, must inform the assembly.

This obligation is not triggered by any type of work, but only by those that affect the rights of the other condominiums and the common property; and the air conditioner is likely to damage the decorum of the facade of the building. So it will be good to anticipate the administrator’s intention to carry out such work so that he, possibly, submit the issue to the other condominiums in the assembly. However, a vote of the assembly authorizing the individual owner to install the system is not required.

KEEP YOUR DISTANCE

In order not to disturb the view of people living on the floors above, vertical or flush distances must be observed. If you want to place the outdoor unit on a wall where there are direct or oblique views, it must stop at least three meters below the window sill. The pipes must respect the distance of at least one meter, however, according to a minority interpretation, these distances do not have to be respected if the air conditioners are removable and small.

NOISE

The air conditioner, if poorly positioned, can jeopardize the safety of other tenants. So, pay attention to the safety aspect, which should never be overlooked.

Last but not least, annoying noise must be avoided: an air conditioner that makes excessive noise or a continuous background noise can trigger the obligation to remove it and compensate for the damage. In fact, the Civil Code prohibits noise immissions “exceeding normal tolerability”, an element that must be assessed on the basis of a phonometric survey, also in light of the background noise produced by the road and the traffic below.

The fact that the air conditioner has a certificate from the manufacturer stating that it complies with the legal noise limits does not necessarily mean that it also complies with the limits of the civil code. These are two different things. In this regard, the Supreme Court of Cassation has said that compliance with the limits provided for by law cannot make the noise emissions from the air conditioner lawful, since the judgement on their tolerability must be formulated in relation to the environmental situation, which varies from place to place, according to the characteristics of the area and the habits of the inhabitants, and cannot disregard the background noise, i.e. the complex of sounds of various and often unidentifiable origins, continuous and characteristic of the place, on which the noises reported as abnormal emissions are grafted.

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Finally, if you need a guide to understand the rules to follow to install an air conditioner in a condominium, send an email to [email protected]! Visit our online portal CasaOmnia.it!

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