What Are the Implications of the Telecommunications Code for Landlords?

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What Are the Implications of the Telecommunications Code for Landlords?
Landlords should be aware of the rights of telecommunications operators under United Kingdom law (telecommunications antenna image by Tomo Jesenicnik from Fotolia.com)

The Telecommunications Code is a United Kingdom law that ensures no one is unreasonably denied access to telecommunications and network services. This law, known as the Electronic Communications Code since 2003, has some implications for landlords. In renting property to telecommunications operators, a landlord should be aware of the operators' rights under the Telecommunications Code.

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Right of Access

A telecommunications operator can give a landlord notice asking for the right to use the landlord's land. If the landlord does not enter into an agreement with the operator after 28 days, the operator could apply for a court order to get right of access. If you are a landlord in this situation, it is advisable to enter into a formal agreement with the operator to ensure more control over the situation, given that the operator has some rights based on the Telecommunications Code.

Termination of Tenancy

If a landlord wants to terminate the operator's lease, he should first make sure that he is not going against the operator's right to occupy the property under the UK Landlord & Tenant Act 1954. If not, the landlord can serve a notice of termination of tenancy to the operator. However, the Telecommunications Code creates a complication in situations where the landlord cites "redevelopment" as a basis for terminating the lease. Under the Telecommunications Code, the landlord can only give notice to the operator at a time when the lease has already expired. Under the Act, the operator's tenancy continues until a court order disposes of the case. To get a court order to terminate the lease, the landlord must show that he is able to redevelop the land, which he cannot do until he serves a notice under the Telecommunications Code to the operator to vacate the property. The landlord can't serve such a notice under the Code until he gets a court order under the Landlord & Tenant Act.

Landlord Tactics

In order to deal with these sorts of implications of the Telecommunications Code, UK landlords have to resort to some strategic tactics. One way is to contract out the lease. While it is possible to avoid some aspects of the Act in this way, landlords can't contract out of the provisions of the Telecommunications Act. Another way is for landlords to put in a lease provision requiring operators to pay a penalty if they want to exercise their rights under the Telecommunications Act.

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