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What you need to know about installing an air-conditioner in your apartment in Spain

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What you need to know about installing an air-conditioner in  your apartment in Spain
Photo: garyperkin/Depositphotos
11:56 CEST+02:00
It’s summer. And it’s suddenly becoming aboundingly obvious that Spain gets hot in the summer and that it isn’t going to be enough to pull the shutters down, take frequent cold showers and spend your afternoons having a siesta.

You realise that the only way you are going to survive the next two-and-a-half months is by installing an air conditioning unit. And quick.

But what are the rules?  Is there anything stopping you and why the hell didn’t the previous occupants install one?

Well, for starters, they may have done and then decided to take it with them to their next residence. So don’t jump to the conclusion that just because there isn’t one, then air-conditioning is banned.

But there are rules and regulations in every building so you need to check.

If you rent the property:

If you are renting, first of all check  your contract and see if there are any clauses about air-conditioning units. If there is no clause expressly forbidding air conditioning units there may be something about making any kind of alterations to the property.

Article 23 of the Spanish Urban Leasing Law (Ley de Arrendamientos Urbanos or LAU) establishes that the tenant may not carry out works that modify the property without the written consent of the landlord.

It’s not clear exactly whether installing an air conditioner is classified as a “modification” by law but the only way to avoid problems is to check with your landlord.

To avoid problems and potentially having to remove the air conditioner and return the property to its original state at the end of the tenancy, write a written request, providing details of air-conditioning unit, it’s make, dimensions, etc and where you plan to install it and ensure you get written consent.

READ MORE: Renting property in Spain: Know your rights as a tenant


Photo: Jocelyn Erskine-Kellie/Flickr

If you own the property:

You might think it would be easier if you own the property but you will still have to check what rules apply to air conditioning units in your building and seek permission from the “comunidad” – residents community.

Comunidad rules and regulations:

Unfortunately, these differ from building to building depending on the whim of the homeowner’s association.

Sometimes, air conditioning units are banned from the facade of the building for reasons of aesthetics. Other times there are rules in placed as to where exactly the units can be place in order to limit noise.

 If there are no particular ‘statutes’ laid down by the homeowners’ association then you will still need permission and this can be sought with a request put to an “owners’ meeting”. Usually, a majority vote is all that is needed for consent.

Rules set by the Ayuntamiento

Some local councils lay down laws about air conditioning units, the type that can be installed and their location.

There could be rules about the distance they should be from a neighbours window and also about how noisy they are and what hours they can be used.

So always check with your Town Hall to avoid sanctions.

What next?

Once you have the consent you need and have checked the rules in your local area then find the air conditioning unit you want.

Air-conditioning units cost from around €600 (plus installation) for a 2,000 BTU ( frigorías) unit, which is sufficient to cool an average size room.

Air-conditioners can be noisy, so check the noise level before choosing one.

If you discover it’s just too complicated to install an air conditioning unit, then you may want to opt for a “penguino” – or a penguin as portable air conditioning units are dubbed in Spain. Basically the bigger they are, the more effective but some require an outlet hose that can go through a window.

Bear in mind too that they can be expensive to run.

If all else fails, just do what the Spanish do. Roll down the shutters, turn off the lights and siesta through the hottest part of the day.

Vocab:

aire acondicionado – air conditioner

 

instalación de aparatos – installation of unit

comunidad de propietarios / comunidades de vecinos – Homeowners association / Residents committee

Estatutos de la Comunidad: Rules of the Building

 ola de calor  - heat wave

las normativas – the rules / regulations

 

Penguino – penguin – portable air conditioner

 

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Spain's new rental laws

 

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