Permits for the installation of air conditioning systems.

The summers are getting warmer and warmer in Austria. Especially in the big cities of Vienna, Graz, Linz and Salzburg but also in the countryside the heat in the home or office becomes unbearable in many places.

In modern offices, air conditioners that create a pleasant working climate even in summer are often standard. Since modern air conditioning systems are now highly efficient and far from being the power guzzlers of bygone days, more and more Austrians are installing air conditioning in their homes.

However, when air conditioning systems are retrofitted in private households, many people forget that permits are often required.

Noise emission and optical appearance

The most energy-saving and therefore most effective air conditioning systems are split units, which consist of indoor and outdoor units. If the outdoor unit significantly changes its external appearance, especially if it is installed on the street side, a building permit is usually required. In Austria, this is regulated at state level and therefore varies from state to state.

Especially in protection zones or in houses under monument protection such a thing can be critical. When retrofitting air conditioning systems in Vienna, for example, the approval of the Department of Architecture and Urban Design (MA 19) must be obtained, without whose opinion the building police (MA 37) does not issue a permit.

In addition to the appearance, the volume of the air conditioning system is also relevant. Here there are given limit values which must be kept. The volume of the air conditioner must not significantly exceed the noise level of the ambient noise. In order to guarantee this, a technical report is required in which the noise emissions are determined.
Those who have their air conditioning system installed by a specialist company usually receive professional support from this company.

Approval from landlord or co-owner

In addition to the building regulations, the law on the ownership of residential property and the law on tenancy can also be decisive for the installation of air conditioning systems.

In multi-party houses, a condominium owner needs the consent of all co-owners as well as the approval of the building authorities.

Before a tenant has an air conditioning system installed in his rented apartment, permission from the landlord is mandatory.

Fine or dismantling threatens

Air conditioning systems with outdoor units installed without the permission of the building authorities may constitute a violation of the building regulations. In this case, fines of several thousand euros or a dismantling and the restoration of the original condition can threaten.

Whoever installs an air conditioning system without the consent of the landlord or the co-owners, is threatened with a lawsuit by the landlord or an action for freedom of property by the other condominium owners.

If individual co-owners of the real estate should refuse their agreement, a court can determine in an out-of-court procedure whether the important interest on a dwelling with tolerable room temperatures outweighs the interests worthy of protection of the other owners of flats.

Practice info!

Problem definition

An air conditioning system was installed in an attic storey with office space, bathroom and bedroom, as the rooms heated up strongly in summer due to the slate roofing. The air conditioning system was connected to the electrical installation and the condensation water was drained to the outside. The use of the waste heat has not yet been integrated into the existing heating and service water heating system, but the option is provided for this.

The installation costs of the air conditioning system were recorded as maintenance costs, as there was neither a significant improvement nor an increase in substance (no extension of the building’s possible uses). Air conditioning units would serve climate protection, which would be part of a package of measures against cold and heat, as well as insulation, window glazing and heating.

The tax office, on the other hand, set the costs for the air-conditioning system as a manufacturing expense – by increasing the basis of assessment for depreciation: the first installation of an air-conditioning system – as well as the comparable installation of ventilation systems – would lead to dependent building parts. The air conditioning system represents a hitherto non-existent component of the building, which increases the substance of the building. The installation would not take place in an existing installation (e.g. a non-air-conditioned ventilation system). The connection of the air conditioning system to the power supply is a matter of course.

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