Telecom masts on your land are an asset which should be managed to maximise your benefits from them. We have seen many examples where agreements have not been reviewed and income not accounted for, so we are urging landowners to reacquaint themselves with the lease terms.
It may identify missed payments, highlight opportunities for future income and address issues:
- Once leases are signed, landowners may have only received the initial rental payment.
- Rents may not have been paid for several years.
- No uplift/rent review has taken place.
- Ensure maintenance responsibilities are carried out.
- Negotiate on upgrade work outside of ‘allowable’ lease terms.
- Negotiate on lease renewal.
- If the lease renewal terms are not favourable, it may be time to review alternative land use and there may be a right to “lift and shift” making a telecoms operator relocate their plant and equipment. The old code included these clauses and many more, so it is important to ensure that matters of “lift and shift” and other clauses are included within new code agreements.
- A final alternative may be to look at selling the freehold or long leasehold rights to an investor, thereby passing over the obligations to deal with the operator to the investor.
Considering the lower rents being achieved within the New Code Lease agreements, this approach may release a lump sum capital payment rather than a reduced annual rent over say a 10-year period. We are seeing more investors approaching landowners with the view of acquiring masts, to package several masts into larger portfolio assets, however, this should be undertaken with caution.
D&R’s specialist telecoms team can negotiate terms for existing site leases, new site leases or sales, to ensure you achieve the best terms available in the market and in line with current legislation.