24 Aug 23 by Helen Hollow
With the ever-evolving legislation surrounding telecoms masts, landlords regularly find themselves falling behind in their understanding of what rights they currently have for lease renewals for land with telecoms masts.
The passing of the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act (PTSI) 2022 further supports the Electronic Communications Code in 2017, the combination of which strengthens telecoms providers’ position as occupiers of land. This has been shown through recent caselaw which has clarified tenant’s rights to renew agreements, or terminate them, beyond a landlord’s control.
Of course, this legislation provides positive news for the UK’s telecommunications infrastructure but, in turn, it can place a large burden on those landowners whose land sites a mast, or has the potential to do so. There are very few specialist professional advisors within the property market, resulting in landlords being unsure as to how they should proceed with lease renewals or new lease proposals submitted by telecoms providers.
Lease renewals for land with telecoms mast
This was found to be the case recently, where a landowner approached Vickery Holman to assist in a lease renewal for land with telecoms mast. The tenant had been attempting to progress the renewal for over 12 months but, with no known advisor to assist them, the landlord was at a loss as to how to proceed. Whilst the Code and the 2022 Act result in the bad news that rents will unlikely remain at the higher levels historically achieved, there are still positive terms that can be negotiated into a new lease agreement if the proper advice is obtained.
“Helen recently acted for us on a lease renewal for a Telecoms mast sited on our land in Gloucestershire. We were unable to identify a surveyor nearby and were finally referred to Vickery Holman, where we were pleased to find that their Truro office has a telecoms advisor. Having that specialist knowledge gave us the confidence that we were entering into a new lease on the best possible terms. We are very pleased with the outcome achieved by Helen and feel the renewal process was sped up by having her involved” – Constellation Cold Logistics UK2 Ltd, July 2023.
Telecoms legislation has also been found to have an impact on landowners where either a telecoms tenant wants to acquire the land which sites their mast, or where a developer wants to acquire other land to which the mast forms part of it. Landowners are often found to be uncertain of capital land values due to the Code and 2022 Act adversely impacting rental values. Unlike other commercial entities, the capital value here isn’t always directly calculated in accordance with the passing or future rental values of mast leases.
It is becoming increasingly evident that landlords and/or landowners would benefit from seeking and obtaining specialist advice to ensure they hold the right information, whether that be for a new lease or the consideration of a land sale, before progressing negotiations.
Although Vickery Holman are based in offices within the South West of England, our knowledge of telecoms legislation enables us to assist landlords and landowners across the Country. We have experienced legal contacts who can help once a transaction requires solicitor input, something which allows us to provide a well-rounded service in this field.
If you would like to discuss any telecoms related transactions or require some initial advice in advance of a potential future matter, please contact Helen Hollow in our Truro office in the first instance – – and she will be pleased to speak to you.
Our full Lease Advisory service is available to help landlords or tenants.