With more people working at home than ever as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an increased pressure to meet telecommunication roll-out targets to extend coverage. The Queen’s 2021 Speech included a pledge to introduce "reforms to support faster and more collaborative negotiations for the use of private and public land for telecommunications deployment.” The Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act (TILP) was subsequently introduced to make it easier for operators to provide faster broadband to large residential buildings. This has led to operators and owners wanting to deal with the legal aspect of multi-property wayleave requests more quickly and efficiently.

If you are approached by an operator to carry out telecommunication works at one or more of your properties, we would recommend getting in touch as soon as possible so that any requests can be dealt with quickly and consistently through our dedicated team. Under TILP, an operator will be entitled to apply to the Tribunal for temporary rights if a freehold owner of large residential buildings fails to respond to a notice request within a certain period of time. Disputing a matter at the Tribunal is time consuming and costly and our approach looks to avoid this by engaging with the operators early on to try and agree mutually beneficial terms.

If you own multiple properties that require telecommunications, you should consider dealing with this in one document instead of multiple wayleave agreements. This will not only speed up negotiations and therefore reduce costs but will also mean that your property portfolio and interests are consistently and sufficiently protected. It will also reduce administration. Occasionally operators offer contributions towards legal fees for such agreements. We recommend trying to agree costs coverage with the operator early on.

We recently completed a multi-property wayleave transaction relating to over 50,000 properties. We have the benefit and experience of having dealt with a variety of bespoke bulk requests and therefore offer multiple solutions that we can talk you through.

For further information on this, please contact David Hobbs (Partner) or Jennie Alger (Solicitor) in our Commercial Property team.

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