Frasers Group at Times House, London
Landlords increasingly recognise that telecom matters require specialist knowledge. One such property owner is Frasers Group, who instructed Telemaster in relation to an existing telecoms site on their building known as Times House in London. The current lease had expired, and the mobile phone mast Tenant was holding over and paying a very attractive above current market value rent. In 2019, Frasers Group were approached by their Tenant with a request for consent to upgrade their equipment and add 5G technology. The Operator’s lease did not give them rights to install this additional equipment.
At this site, protecting the structural integrity of the building and ensuring the Operator complied with all the necessary Health & Safety regulations was our priority. We also wanted to avoid renewing the lease, at least in the short term, to ensure the client’s rental income was protected for as long as possible.
Telemaster was tasked with providing comprehensive advice about the Operator’s code rights, and the state of rents in the current market. The New Code which was introduced in 2017 has radically changed how we approach much of our work with the mobile phone operators and therefore how we advise our clients. Telecoms market rents and site payments are in a state of flux, and many landlords are faced with the prospect of a large reduction in rent at lease renewal. As a direct result of several high-profile Court judgements, a tone of market rents is starting to emerge and whilst it is often very difficult to protect historic rental income, we can at least continue to focus on mitigating any risks placed on landlords as a direct result of having a telecoms code operator’s occupation.
"Telemaster’s advice allowed Frasers Group to make informed decisions on the Operator’s continued occupation and the approval of proposed 5G upgrade. "
What did we do?
Telemaster ensured that the Operator’s drawings contained sufficient structural information to show how the 5G major works upgrade would affect Frasers Group property asset and that the Operator paid for an independent assessment of the proposal by a structural engineer.
Telemaster also shared their expertise on the critical aspects of managing telecoms infrastructure on their property with Frasers Group: Compliance with the Control of Electromagnetic Fields at Work Regulations 2016 (CEMFAW) to protect the landlord’s employees and contractors from EMF exposure is a statutory duty, and it is insufficient to rely on the Operator’s self-certification of its own equipment. Despite the far-reaching rights that the mobile phone operators enjoy, the Code does not override EMF regulations, HSE guidance and or The Building Safety Act.
A client with complete confidence that their asset is protected and that any associated risks were mitigated in every respect. The Operator tenant met all the Landlord’s reasonable and proper professional fees. The upgrade works were comprehensively documented, and the landlord was paid a disturbance payment in return for the additional equipment rights. The tenant continues to hold over under an expired lease, which in the short term at least is advantageous to the Landlord.