Since the introduction of The Electronic Communications Code two years ago, many landowners have been under pressure to accept lower rents at renewal because of the powers under the Act.
But if you have a mast site that is let with a pre-existing agreement under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, protection under the Act prevails meaning operators are more likely to have to pay a similar rent when tenancies are up for renewal.
This has been tested recently in CTIL v Ashloch Limited and AP Wireless II (UK) Limited and further clarifies which legislation applies when an agreement is up for renewal.
The judgment provides that where a site was covered by a protected tenancy under the 1954 Act which was already in existence when the New Code came into force, Landlords can rely on the rent assessment mechanism in the 1954 Act at tenancy renewal, instead of having to accept a potentially much lower rent under the New Code.
Powers to assign, upgrade and share mast sites are automatically granted in New Code agreements and are not part of the rent assessment process when negotiating a new code Agreement, but under the 1954 Act these are all up for consideration.
So, it is worth checking your mast agreements to establish exactly what arrangement you have in place in order to put yourself in the strongest negotiating position.
If you need any help with your mast site Agreements and negotiations with Telecoms operators, we would be happy to advise you so please do give us a call.
Liza Randall MRICS FAAV