Do you have a mast on your land or building? Have you been contacted by the Operator with a proposal for lowering the rent they pay you?
Have you been approached by an Operator or one of their agents looking for new locations to place their telecoms equipment, requesting access to carry out a survey, take some pictures, or to ‘just have a look around’?
These are just a few examples of otherwise standard issues that now have new significance under the new Electronic Communications Code (ECC).
So, what is the new ECC, and more importantly, how will affect you?
On 28 December 2017, the Government introduced the new Electronic Communications Code (ECC). The purpose of the ECC was to enable faster rollout of a more connected network (Digital Britain).
Amongst the changes it brought:
- It introduced new ‘Code Rights’ – for example, previously, if the Operator shared the use of your property with another Operator, you were usually able to negotiate an increased income. Not anymore – they now may have a Code Right to do so for free.
- It allows the Operator to take you to court in certain instances and get an agreement imposed on you if you don’t cooperate.
Unfortunately, the Operators are currently incorrectly (there seems to be a consensus on this amongst Specialist Telecoms Surveyors) interpreting the new ECC to mean that they are now entitled to offer minimal rent; one of our clients with a rooftop mast in Central London was offered £50 per year – for a mast that was, up till then, bringing in £18,000 per year!
We therefore would advise you to:
- First of all ensure that you don’t allow access to anyone, even if they offer to pay, and that you don’t sign anything you are sent, until you fully understand what you are committing yourself to
- Ascertain what your particular rights are. Has there already been a lease on the property? Have they already visited your site? Have you signed anything yet?
- Decide what your goals for your property are. Do you plan to redevelop in the future? Are you even interested in having a mast on your property? What do you need to receive to make it worthwhile to you? And if you don’t want a mast on your property, what rights do you have that can keep them from putting one there?
- Seek Specialist advice. Given the complexity that the new ECC adds to an already confusing field, it’s easy to make small mistakes which will end up causing you a serious headache and/or significant liability in the future
Remember that everything you are told by an Operator or their agent should be verified by a Specialist; they aren’t being paid to look out for you!
We offer all potential clients FREE, no-obligation initial advice – call us TODAY to see what we can do to keep you protected!