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Mast operators issuing ‘Section 26 Notice’

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A leading mobile phone mast consultant is urging landlords to get in touch with him if they receive a ‘Section 26 Notice’ from their tenant.

Matt Restall of The Phone Mast Advice Company says Landlords have started to receive Section 26 Notices from phone mast operators and are unsure what this means and what action to take.

The type of commercial lease that is likely to be in place on a phone mast site will have protection under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 (unless opted out of the lease). This clause would give the tenant an automatic right to renew the tenancy under similar terms. To initiate the renewal of a protected tenancy, the mast tenant will serve a ‘Section 26 Notice’ on the mast landlord. The triggering of the Section 26 Notice sets a deadline for negotiation of a new agreement.

Matt comments: “Telecoms operators have tried to renew agreements based on the Electronic Communications Code (ECC), which was amended in 2017 by the Digital Economy Act, and operators have tried to use this to offer very low rents.

“However as recent legal cases* have shown; part five of the ECC, which applies to the renewal of existing tenancies cannot be applied retrospectively. A lease cannot be renewed under the ECC if that lease contains protection under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. It must be renewed under this law instead.”

After trying to force the ‘New Code Terms’ on landlords, operators seem to have conceded and have instead been rightly issuing Section 26 Notices to landlords with protected tenancies instead. Despite this, the terms they are proposing are still more in line with the ‘New Code’ and not based on the valuation principles of the Landlord and Tenant Act as they should be by law.

Matt is encouraging any landlord that has received a phone mast Section 26 Notice to get in touch for advice before responding to the operators.

“We will be able to review the situation free of charge and advise on the best way forward for landlords,” ends Matt.

To contact the Phone Mast Advice Company, call: 0203 883 0605.

 

 

 

CTIL v Ashloch Limited and AP Wireless II (UK) Limited [2019] UKUT 0338 (LC)