Mobile Mast Sites: Landlords Beware

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Mobile Mast Sites: Landlords Beware

August 2011

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An ever changing telecoms market means that landlords must carefully manage their sites. Regular inspections and site audits are key to ensuring that equipment installed is carefully monitored and no unauthorised apparatus is fitted or damage caused.

Chris Hicks provides some invaluable advice for landlords.   

Take-overs, consolidation projects and rent reduction ventures by mobile networks is occurring across the UK by operators sharing infrastructure and assets in a bid to drive down operating costs.
 
Landlords beware as this network consolidation generally requires an alteration and/or addition of equipment which you need to be aware of. 
 
Historically, the landlord’s primary focus with a telecoms letting is securing the best rent and other commercial terms. Once the agreement is in place, operators are generally left to their own devices to install and operate their equipment. In the current market, Fisher German are advising landlords to actively manage their asset.
 
Site inspections and site audits should be undertaken throughout the agreement term, and are especially important following operator’s alteration and upgrade works.
 
Inspections and audits ensure that landlords have updated records of the equipment installed on site. They also provide a regular opportunity to ensure that the equipment installed is in accordance with the lease rights and that the site is being properly maintained.
 
Irregularities between the operator’s permitted rights and the equipment actually installed are very common. During a recent site audit, Fisher German highlighted to the landlord that an operator had installed three additional sections of steel grillage on a rooftop outside of its demise and without the landlord’s knowledge. This was a breach of the commercial terms and the landlord was entitled to additional rental payments.
 
As part of the consolidation projects, thousands of mast sites have been or are planned to be decommissioned across the UK. Landlords of decommissioned sites should check that the site has been decommissioned in accordance with the lease/licence. Landlords are advised to closely monitor the decommissioning process to ensure that the property is left in a satisfactory condition and any damage is made good.
 
Chris Hicks of Fisher German urges landlord’s to take a more active role in the management of their sites, “By undertaking regular site audits landlords become aware of any issues at an early stage and therefore have the opportunity to seek remedy with the operators”.
 
For advice and further information, please contact Christopher Hicks on 01858 410200, email chris.hicks@fishergerman.co.uk
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