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Don’t delay on mobile phone mast lease renewals

30 March 2015

Recent reports in the press have confirmed that Britain’s mobile phone operators are lobbying the government to intervene with landlords to reduce the rents payable for mobile phone masts.

They want the government to give them the same powers as the energy and water companies to build up their networks. Some commentators have speculated that this could mean the average annual rent for a rural mobile phone mast dropping from around £7,500 a year to less than £250 a year. This would be a significant decrease in income for landowners (both rural and urban).

The operators are arguing that the charges that they face are unfair when compared with other utility companies. This is particularly sensitive in light of the government’s requirements for mobile phone operators to increase network coverage in rural areas.

A consultation is currently underway to consider reforming the 1984 regulations that deal with relationships between mobile operators and landlords. A report is expected after the election.

It would be sensible for landowners who currently have mobile phone masts on their property, the leases of which have expired or which are due for renewal, to ensure that renewal negotiations are settled as quickly as possible in case the government does decide to alter the regulations in favour of the operators.

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Alasdair Garbutt LLB (Hons)
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