What is a Phone Mast Lease?

by | 12 Aug 2022 | Informative

A phone mast lease is a legal contract, with exclusive possession, over land or property for a period of time (fixed or periodic) in return for consideration, usually in the form of rent. This is not to be confused with a Phone Mast Lease Premium.

Phone Mast Lease vs Commercial Lease

A phone mast lease in essence is very similar to a normal commercial lease you would expect to see for a shop, retail, or industrial premises. However, the exception to a phone mast lease is that the tenant or operators can benefit from ‘code powers’ from the 1984 Telecommunications Act as amended by the 2003 Communications Act and the 2017 Digital Economy Act.

Clauses you would expect to find in a phone mast lease

The standard clauses and provisions you would expect to find in a phone mast lease are as follows:

‘Date’The date the lease started
‘Lessee and Lessor’Landlord and Tenant
‘Premises’This is the address and location of the exclusive possession
‘Term’This is the period of time the lease starts and ends
RentThis is the amount of money the tenant pays the landlord, normally on an annual basis
‘Commencement Date’This is the date the lease starts from, this can differ from the lease start date
‘Permitted User’Normally this is restricted to telecommunications
‘The Rights’This will govern the equipment the operator is allowed to install on site. To include, maintaining and upgrading
‘Alienation/Site Sharing’This refers to the rights the operator has to let to third party’s and share equipment. This has changed under the 2017 law
‘Assignment’This governs the right to assign the benefits of the lease to a third party. This has changed under the 2017 Law
‘Group Companies’This would detail the rights the tenant has to allow group companies to benefit from the lease
‘Rent Review’This would set out the rent review methodology and provisions, normally you would expect to see the rent review to the higher of the Market Value or Retail Price Index
‘Rent Review Date’This outlines the period of the rent reviews, typically the frequency would be every 3-5 years
‘Tenant Break Clause’This outlines the date and the process for the tenant to end the lease
‘Landlord Break Clause’This outlines the date and process for the Landlord to end the lease
‘Lift and Shift’This would allow the Landlord or tenant to remove and relocate the equipment for essential repairs
‘Insurance and Indemnity’This would outline the process if there was a claim
’Equipment Rights’This would outline the equipment the tenant is allowed to install on site.
‘Switch Off’This would detail the procedure for switching off the equipment in an emergency or whilst carrying out repairs
‘Access’This would detail the access route to the site and the access procedures
’Emergency Access’This would explain the procedures to be followed to access the site in an emergency
‘Yield Up Clause’This explains the procedure the tenant would follow when the lease has ended, and they are removing equipment from the site
‘Way Leaves and Easements’This would detail the landlord’s responsibility for entering with third parties to install communication links to the site.

Heads of terms

These clauses above are normally agreed upon by the tenant and landlord surveyors within the Heads of Terms.

Heads of Terms are the main points of the lease (bones of the lease) that are negotiated by landlord and tenant surveyors, ideally before the solicitors are instructed. Making sure good Heads of Terms are agreed in principle prior to instructing solicitors can save both parties time and money in expensive legal fees.

Heads of Terms should be negotiated by a specialist telecoms surveyor to ensure the client has the best wording and sufficient protection within their lease.

Up until December 2017, phone mast leases were given security of tenure under the 1954 Landlord and Tenant Act. However, this has now changed following the introduction of the 2017 Digital Economy Act and Electronic Communications Code.

Phone mast being leased in the countryside

Important points to consider

Once you have completed a lease, it will be hard to change the terms if they are not in your favour

Landlords often make the mistake of thinking if the lease is silent on a specific matter, the operator or the tenant is not allowed to do it. This is wrong, if you want to restrict an operator or tenant this needs to be clearly written into the lease.

Contact us for help with your lease

Please contact the Phone Mast Advice Company for the best Heads of Terms and Lease Clauses in the marketplace.

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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.