Landlords / Guide

How to install air conditioning in a condominium in France?

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Installing an air-conditioning system involves setting up one indoor and one outdoor unit. The indoor unit requires no specific authorization, as it is in a private area inside the property. On the other hand, the outdoor unit installation is more tricky as it can be installed on personal property or in a common area, requiring special authorization from the condominium and the city's town hall. This blog will guide you through installing air conditioning in France in a co-ownership building.

Where to install the external air-conditioning unit?

The external air-conditioning unit is designed to evacuate hot air and is usually on the outside, either in the building's common area, on the facade, or on a privately owned terrace or balcony.

How to install air conditioning in a co-ownership building?

Here's the procedure to follow if you wish to install an outdoor air conditioning unit in a condominium: 

  • Firstly, check the condominium regulations to see whether the location in which you intend to put your outdoor A.C. unit is privately owned or shared with the other co-owners; 
  • Next, send a registered letter to the syndic (Building Manager) to formally request a vote on the next general meeting of co-owners (Assemblée Générale);
  • Attach supporting documents to the letter describing the potential modifications to the building and its place of installation;
  • Declare your installation to the town planning department if it involves modifying the exterior appearance of the building;
  • At last, install the indoor and outdoor units once all the necessary authorizations have been obtained. 

*The syndicate is both the building manager and the coordinator of relations between co-owners. 

*General meeting of co-owners: Co-owners meet at least once a year to decide on the work and direction they would like their building to take. The holding of general meetings follows definite rules. Each decision results from a vote.

When do co-owners require authorizations to install an A.C. in France?

  • If the air conditioning unit is in a common area, you require a vote at the general meeting to get the authorization. 
  • If the unit is located in a private area but alters the appearance of the building, you will need authorization from the co-owners
  • Suppose the outdoor unit will be installed in a privately owned space, such as a terrace, balcony, or garden, and will not affect the external appearance of the building or common areas. In that case, no authorization is required from the condominium.

N.B. Some co-ownerships may consider the balcony/terrace a common area when stipulated in the co-ownership regulations.

Can you install an air conditioner on your balcony in a condominium?

In theory, owners can install an air-conditioning unit on their balcony since it is generally considered their private area. However, it may be considered a common area by some co-ownership regulations.

You don't need to obtain authorization to install an air-conditioner on your balcony if:
The balcony is listed as your private area, and the installation does not involve any fixation on the exterior walls nor affect the building's appearance.

How many votes are required to install air conditioning?

During the general meeting, all the owners in the building will vote for your A.C. installation proposal. You must obtain the majority agreement from all the owners. If the required majority vote is not reached, but the number of favorable votes exceeds one-third of the total votes cast, the meeting may proceed to a second vote, requiring a simple majority* to reach a decision.

*Simple majority voting requires only a majority of the votes of the co-owners present or represented. It does not take into account the shares of the absent or abstaining co-owners.

What to do if the annual General Meeting has already been held?

There are two options in this case: wait until the next general meeting or ask for an extra general meeting at your own expense. 

N.B. Remember that installing air-conditioning without the condominium's permission is risky, as you might have to remove the A.C. unit at your own expense.

How far away should I install my air conditioner from my neighbor?

Although there are no specific rules concerning the minimum distance from neighboring properties when installing an air-conditioning system in a condominium, the French Town Planning Code recommends a minimum length of 3 meters from the property line to avoid disputes. We recommend setting the air conditioner at least 6 meters from neighboring units to foster amicable relations with neighbors.

Air conditioning and noise: What you need to know

The noise generated by the air conditioner's external unit is considered behavioral noise. If this noise is recurring and loud, it may be regarded as an abnormal neighborhood disturbance and a night-time disturbance from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. If no amicable solution can be found, neighbors bothered by the A.C. noise can take the dispute to court. The judge can then impose soundproofing or even order the dismantling of the air conditioning installation.

What happens if you install air-conditioning without authorization from the condominium?

If an air-conditioning system is installed without permission of the General Meeting, the condominium association can take legal action to remove it at the owner's cost. The legal deadline is ten years from the start of the work, after which the association can no longer intervene.

Installing air conditioning in a condominium in France can be a tricky process. However, it's well worth the effort and will add much value to your furnished apartment rental in Paris, ensuring you rent it out faster!

 

Editor: Siyi CHEN

Sources: cotoit, duflair, citya

Credit Photo@Tyler Franta

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