The Dangers of Signing Before Thinking: A Guide for Landlords

by | 25 Jun 2024 | Advice

Navigating the complexities of phone mast lease agreements can be daunting for landlords, especially with the evolving telecommunications landscape. Rushing into agreements without fully understanding the implications can lead to long-term issues. Here, we discuss why it’s crucial to take a considered approach and seek professional advice before signing any phone mast lease agreements.

The Electronic Communications Code (the Code) provides telecom operators with significant rights, often leaving landlords at a disadvantage. Many landlords might feel compelled to accept initial offers from operators without realizing these offers often undervalue the site. Such agreements can lock landlords into less favourable financial terms.

Moreover, the Code allows operators to pursue legal enforcement if landlords refuse to cooperate, potentially leading to court-mandated terms that are even less beneficial. Therefore, understanding these legal intricacies is vital for landlords to safeguard their interests.

Risks of Hasty Decisions

Accepting Initial Offers

A common mistake is agreeing to the first offer presented by an operator. These offers usually include rent that is much lower than the actual market value. By accepting prematurely, landlords miss out on potential income over the lease duration.

Unfavourable Contract Terms

Initial agreements might contain clauses that heavily favour the operator, such as broad access rights and minimal maintenance responsibilities. These terms can cause ongoing operational headaches and disputes.

Ignoring Operator Notices

Some landlords opt to ignore notices from operators, hoping the issue will go away. This approach can lead to legal action, resulting in mandatory installations and significant legal costs. It’s crucial to address these communications promptly to maintain control over the terms.

Demanding Immediate Removal

Conversely, some landlords react by demanding the removal of existing masts or refusing new installations outright. Such actions can lead to costly legal battles and potentially court-enforced terms that are less advantageous. The current lease terms also need to be considered, as they impact legal standing and outcomes.

Best Practices for Landlords

Seek Professional Advice

Before responding to any operator communication, consult a specialist telecoms surveyor. These professionals understand current telecom laws and the market landscape. They can provide valuable advice, negotiate favourable terms, and manage legal completion with a specialist telecoms solicitor.

Professional Valuation

Engage a surveyor to determine the market value of your mast site. A well-supported valuation strengthens your negotiating position and ensures fair compensation.

Strategic Negotiations

Proactively negotiate terms to protect your interests. This includes clauses that clarify maintenance duties, limit access rights, and ensure adequate compensation. Thoughtful negotiation can lead to more balanced agreements.

Documentation

Keep detailed records of all interactions with operators. Documenting offers, counteroffers, and discussions ensures a clear understanding of the negotiation process and provides evidence in case of disputes.

Stay Informed

The telecommunications industry is continually evolving. Stay updated on changes in regulations and market trends to adapt your strategies accordingly. Regular consultations with experts and staying informed on industry news can provide a competitive edge.

Matthew Restall

Matthew Restall

Matt Restall, the visionary founder of The Phone Mast Advice Company, is an unrivalled authority in providing expert advice on phone mast rents and contractual terms. With an impressive track record spanning over two decades, Matt has become a revered figure in the industry.