We know that the Electronic Communications Code has strengthened operators’ negotiating position when dealing with asset owners (whether it is masts in fields or rooftop telecoms lettings). Under these new circumstances, it’s more important than ever to speak with telecoms lease advisors who can focus on the following:
- Knowing and understanding the full implications of the Code – because knowledge brings (negotiation) strength
- Strategic consultancy to ensure that your strategic, financial and operational objectives are aligned with your negotiation goals
- Negotiating with operators from a position of strength – underpinned by our national UK-wide presence and reputation and a team of dedicated Telecoms Property Specialists
- Understanding the long-term value, not just the price
- Relentlessly negotiating until an equitable conclusion is reached
Because we only advise land and asset owners – not operators – we understand the pressures you face. We are not conflicted and know what a good deal and the best terms will look like for you.
Having advised over 6,000 clients nationally, we have proved that we understand the complexity of diverse property portfolios, disparate revenue streams, and the pressures even one telecommunications installation on your property can create.
So, irrespective of whether you:
- Have been approached about a single site or have received a portfolio-wide proposition
- Are a farmer, landowner, institutional or HNWI investor, or a public sector or entrepreneur, talk to us
We have the knowledge, experience, expertise and reputation which will ensure that your interests will never be undermined by any operator – irrespective of their size, the depth of their fighting fund, or the grandeur of the team of advisors.
Our experienced team of Telecoms Property Specialists has negotiated over 10,000 leases, licences and wayleave agreements on behalf of land and property owners across the UK.
To find out how we can help you, please call Chris Hicks or complete our online enquiry form, and we will get back to you directly.
The team works closely with other specialist teams drawn across the firm to ensure that clients benefit from integrated and holistic property advice – one team, one plan, one goal.
Our expertise includes the following:
Our bespoke Asset Management service, which focuses entirely on your income returns and capital values and protects the underlying property asset, manages every aspect of your telecommunications lease investments.
This ensures that all aspects of your telecoms leases are professionally managed, your interests served, and your obligations/covenants met.
Knowledge of the Electronic Communications Code is critical because a lease with a telecoms operator gives them a legal right to install, maintain and retain their equipment on your land or building – whilst making it difficult for landlords to enforce the removal of equipment.
In addition, the Electronic Communications Code enhances operators’ powers to upgrade, share and assign their leases - with little or no reference to land and property owners’ interests. It also changes the valuation protocols determining the assessment of rents. In contrast, the valuation now considers the value of the land to you as opposed to the site’s value to the operator.
However, as we represented landlords’ interests during the DCMS’s consultation process before the introduction of the Electronic Communications Code, our knowledge of the Code is extensive, and the advice we give our landlord clients is critical to ensure that their interest are fully represented, and the contractual arrangements they enter into are equitable – for both parties.
Appointing an Expert Witness is a measure of last resort and should only be undertaken when a new site negotiation, rent review or lease renewal has reached a stalemate.
Chris Hicks MRICS, Partner and Head of the Telecoms Property team, is a respected telecommunications expert who has appeared as an Expert Witness and presented Expert Valuation Reports to both County Court, Upper Tribunal and Independent expert proceedings.
This is why we have the experience and expertise to analyse all possible options and recommend the most appropriate strategies to adopt to ensure a positive outcome.
How much is your site worth?
How much will you raise if you sell the rights to receive the rent from your telecoms mast?
If an investor offers to buy the rights to the rent you receive, should you sell?
This is an active market, including institutional investors and pension funds, which consider these investments ’a safe bet’.
So, before you decide what to do, talk to us as we can help you:
- Understand the value of your asset
- Make an informed decision about whether to sell or not
- Develop an optimum marketing strategy
- By managing the sale to a successful conclusion
As operators have statutory powers to remain on site, land or property owners cannot simply demand that an operator vacates or relocates their equipment. This is why only experienced negotiators can orchestrate the removal or relocation of equipment – without the asset owner incurring substantial and disproportionate costs.
It is therefore paramount that all relevant notices are served under the Code, the 1954 Act and the Lease: we work closely with clients’ legal teams to ensure that all parties know what has to be done, when it has to be done, by and that a mutually beneficial outcome is achieved, within the agreed timescales.
If an operator requests to take a lease of your land or building, be wary. It would be unusual if they made a fair offer – as the terms offered will probably favour the operator at your expense. Also, you need to consider very carefully whether you can grant such a lease or if there are matters that would exclude you from giving such an agreement, such as planned future redevelopment.
It would be best to have a team of experienced telecoms property specialists to safeguard your interest by negotiating the best terms and ensuring the operator pays your reasonable professional fees.
Once Heads of Terms for a code agreement are agreed upon, we will manage the entire process - from legal instruction to completion. However, if you need access to lawyers with proven telecom experience, we would be happy to effect an introduction.
Beware: many telecoms installations utilise the land or property owner’s electricity supply, and it has been known for this to happen without the landlord’s knowledge.
It is equitable that should an operator use a landlord’s power supply, the total costs of energy consumed are recovered, and a management fee for the service is paid - to cover the additional administrative work involved.
Regular and accurate readings are vital to ensuring that all costs are recovered.
Our team will manage the process to ensure your interests are always served. We will:
- Ascertain if you are supplying the operator with electricity
- Ensure that all costs of energy consumed are recovered
- Instigate protocols to ensure that the operator is invoiced regularly
- Monitor payments to ensure that invoices have been paid
Do you know what equipment has been installed on your property or whether it complies with the terms of your lease?
It is worth noting that operators have been known to install equipment first and then seek the required rights later, if indeed at all.
This is the issue our Site Audit and Inspection team addresses. It:
- Undertakes a comprehensive audit of equipment installed on site
- Compares the audit results with equipment detailed in the terms of the lease
- Advises clients on the options and remedies available if there is a discrepancy between the lease terms and the equipment installed.
- Considers alongside other suitably qualified professionals as to whether any structural and Health & Safety implications arise due to the sighting of telecom equipment
For more information, please contact us.
We know that coordinating these access requests, ensuring that health and safety requirements are complied with and that nothing untoward occurs during these visits requires considerable management and adds additional pressure on the land or property owner.
This is what our Site & Access Management team does. It:
- Deals with all requests for access
- Records the approved visits – such as who visited, details of the company, purpose of visit, and time on site
- Ensures your rights as an owner are protected and that your statutory obligations and duties of care to your visitors are complied with
Our stringent Access Management protocols ensure that only suitably qualified, authorised and competent persons access your site and that access requests are only authorised within the limits of the lease or licence permits.
At the end of the contract – prompted by an operator seeking to remove the site from their network, or a lease end, or the exercising of their Break Clause option – the land/asset owner will need to ensure that their property will not be materially affected by the removal works, or by any equipment left in place.
For clients in this situation, we negotiate surrender agreements and ensure that all outstanding liabilities are honoured by the exiting operator and that their equipment is removed.
If required, our Building Consultancy team will ensure that your property interests are protected and that all removal works are undertaken to the highest standard whilst stringently adhering to Health and Safety regulations.
Operators have been known to conduct telecom site sharing, assignment and upgrade works without any formal notification to, or consent from land and property owners.
Our team considers all such matters and advises clients on:
- Appropriate terms to be agreed
- Financial compensation or remedies available where works have been undertaken without formal consent