With 5g on the brink of being rolled-out, and large parts of the UK still suffering from poor coverage, Operators need new sites for masts, now more than ever. They typically will approach a land or building owner and request access to carry out a survey, take pictures, or ‘just have a look around’.
The issue lies in what happens next. The property owner will usually receive a letter talking about the new Electronic Communications Code (ECC), and how it entitles the Operator to occupy their property for minimal rent. The letter may also contain threats of an agreement being imposed by the court if one does not comply.
Obviously, the Operators seek to maximise their rights in the lease. The rent is just one of many factors that the lease is made up of. The rights that the Operators seek may be inconvenient or can even leave you open to risk.
Whilst a large number of property owners have a surveyor who can deal with general property matters, Telecommunications, being a specialist market, requires someone who has the knowledge of this field. Quite often what appeared to be a good deal will, as time goes by, become apparent as the very opposite. This has become only more crucial recently, given the complexity and uncertainty that the new ECC has introduced to the market.
We would strongly urge you to make sure you fully understand the consequences of the new ECC before agreeing to, or, more importantly, signing anything the Operator proposes. Remember – they aren’t making their money by looking out for your interests!