Following the introduction of the New Telecoms Code back in December 2017 (the New Code), there has been a noticeable shift in the balance of power from landowners in favour of telecoms operators.
This is particularly true in relation to the rent payable by operators to landowners. Prior to the New Code being introduced, landowners were receiving a market rent from operators, however, the rent now payable by operators is much lower as rent is determined by a statutory valuation mechanism contained in the New Code.
How has this affected social housing providers?
This has resulted in a number of social housing providers seeing a reduction in the income being received from telecoms operators following a renewal of an expired lease. This is far from ideal as the cost of accommodating operators on land/buildings may now outweigh the benefit of the rent received. Social housing providers are having to incur the time and cost of frequent access requests from operators to gain access to their equipment as well as disputes that arise in the event damage is caused to their premises by virtue of the apparatus being in situ (e.g. roof leaks).
What can be done to maximise rental, despite the New Code?
It is crucial that social housing providers are able to obtain the highest sums for rent from operators, notwithstanding the principles of the New Code, to retain its income stream for as long as possible.
It is vital that any existing telecoms leases are reviewed to assess how rental levels can be maintained. There may also be the possibility of obtaining additional sums for rent from telecoms operators too. One of the ways we have assisted is through reviewing the rent review provisions in a telecoms lease and activating these in order to secure additional sums of backdated rent from operators.
It is often the case that rent reviews have not been actioned for many years. However, seeking to activate past rent reviews now could result in thousands of pounds of unpaid back rent which social housing providers are entitled to and need. We have been able to successfully obtain back-dated rent for a number of our clients.
However, it will not be a one size fits all, as each telecoms lease is different – varying rent review terms, the valuation mechanism of the rent review and the trigger dates for the review.
How we can help
We can review your telecoms leases, advise you on your position and how you may be able to seize an opportunity to maintain rental levels or receive back-rent owing to you.
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