Being connected to the internet is something we almost take for granted these days. Tenants looking to move into new premises are likely to assume that adequate connections will already be available or reasonably straightforward to set up. This isn’t necessarily the case and before you find yourself unable to get your business up and running in your new premises, check out the position. It is worthwhile doing this and getting the landlord involved as soon as you can.
While modern buildings should have fibre optic cabling installed, older buildings may not. Having connection at a level and speed required for business purposes may mean entering into a telecom agreement (a wayleave agreement) with the service provider for the installation, or upgrading, of cabling within the building. This can take time and involve multiple parties.
While tenants should have rights to connect into existing service media in the building in their lease, this may not extend to new cabling. This may mean seeking the consent of the landlord to run cabling through common parts of the building. The telecoms provider will also want to know they can access and maintain their kit once installed and connected.
A wayleave agreement or telecoms lease will usually need to be entered into between the tenant, the service provider and the landlord. The landlord will want to be involved in the process to protect their position as far as possible to ensure that the service provider only has the rights they are entitled to and the landlord can control as best they can removal of the kit from their building when required.
Landlords should be aware that telecommunications providers have statutory rights which are heavily weighted in their favour. It can take over 18 months to secure the removal of telecommunications apparatus from premises with the landlord needing to prove grounds to do so. Operators are also allowed to assign their rights, upgrade the equipment or share with other providers without the landlord’s consent.
Before refurbishing or redeveloping a property in the medium to long term, a landlord will need to factor in the rights of telecoms providers within the building if their equipment is to be removed. There need to be adequate ‘lift and shift’ provisions in place in any wayleave or telecommunications lease to require providers to move the equipment to allow the landlord to refurbish the premises.
For more information please contact our property team.