A lesson on wayleave agreements for internet on commercial property
When you’re setting up an office or commercial property, there’s a checklist that you put together. Everything needs to be considered, from the furniture to the fittings to hardware such as computer terminals, printers, and IT.
That last item on the list is absolutely essential for 21st-century businesses. No entrepreneur would dream of moving into an office that doesn’t have internet connectivity. But unless you’ve factored in a wayleaves agreement into your tenancy, you could find it very difficult to log on or access your emails.
What is a Wayleave Agreement?
A Wayleave Agreement allows a service provider (such as BT Openreach) the right to install equipment through or over a third party’s land.
For businesses about to sign a tenancy agreement, it’s a detail that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Failure to secure a Wayleave Agreement could mean that companies like Openreach would not be allowed to install those essential superfast fibre optic cables. That could leave you relying on an antiquated phone line as your connection to your marketplace. And as landlines are set to go extinct in 2023, you could end up completely disconnected from the business world for a significant period of time.
Most commercial tenancies will only allow you to connect to an existing network. If there are no existing IT connections, you’re stuck unless you’ve negotiated a Wayleave Agreement. This would ensure that a service provider could come in and install your hardware.
Bear in mind that a landlord is not obligated to provide you with a Wayleave Agreement. They may offer an alternative such as arranging for installation themselves. However, this would not guarantee that your business needs are catered for effectively.
If the landlord does allow a tenant to arrange for a service provider to install cabling, the service provider will still need confirmation from the landlord that the installation is authorised.
Why does this matter?
It’s all down to a question of rights of possession due to equipment installation. Your landlord will want to make sure that the installation (and, if necessary, removal at the end of the tenancy) isn’t going to cost them any money.
They also have to ensure that any installation conforms with Health & Safety legislation and doesn’t compromise the building’s interior or exterior.
The key to ensuring you’re not left with a dead router and no Internet connection is to plan ahead. An office move turns solicitors into project managers and conveyancing experts into list-makers. Organisational skills are essential to a successful relocation. That includes putting Internet connectivity at the top of your to-do list, including negotiating that Wayleaves Agreement with your new landlord.
What else should you add to the list?
While a Wayleave Agreement is one of your priorities, it’s not the only thing on the must-do list. Before you move into a new office, there are a few more things to tick off the list, including:
- EPC – Energy Performance certificates are particularly relevant if the building you’re moving into is a little older. Without this, a landlord cannot let a property. An EPC should be part of your tenancy package.
- Condition of premises – Before you sign that agreement, take a look at the inventory and ensure that it matches the condition of the premises. Remember that first impressions really do matter to clients. If it’s not to your satisfaction, it may be time for a second round of negotiations with the landlord.
- Consider drawing up a schedule of condition – This will set the parameters and ensure that each party knows what they are responsible for when it comes to building maintenance. It can also prevent any disputes when it’s time to either renew or end the tenancy.
- Break clauses – The option to end the lease early subject to conditions should be part of any commercial lease. However, both parties have to agree that the conditions are fair, including notice, restoration of the property back to ‘original specifications’ and who is responsible for removing any installations such as cables.
- Reinstatement and alterations – Everything seems to be going up in price. Ensure that your lease lays out quite clearly how rent reviews will take place and how increases are negotiated.
If you’re planning to move to new commercial premises and want professional, no-nonsense advice, contact OGR Stock Denton’s commercial property experts today by email, or call us on 020 8349 0321.