All about Wayleaves
What is a wayleave?
A ‘wayleave agreement’ is an agreement in which a landowner gives a service provider the right to install pipes, cables or other service media through the land that it owns.
In what circumstances might a wayleave be necessary?
A wayleave is likely to be required at any time when a property needs to be connected to services. This might be following the construction of a new housing development where plots need to be connected to the mains electricity and water supply. It could also be where a tenant comes into a commercial property and needs to install internet fibre through the common parts to serve its business. If the route of the service media is through land owned by somebody else then a wayleave is required.
Who are the parties to a wayleave?
The owner of the relevant land and the service provider need to be parties. In the case of a service being installed for the benefit of a tenant, the tenant (and possibly the tenant’s guarantor if applicable) will need to be a party if the route of the cables etc. also goes through its premises.
What form does a wayleave agreement take?
Wayleave agreements come in various forms, and a lot of utilities and other service providers have their own form that they like to use. There are also standard templates from the likes of Practical Law and City of London Law Society. Some of the components that are normally included are:
• The obligations of each party
• What happens if the service media need to be relocated/rerouted
• How the wayleave agreement can be brought to an end
• An indemnity given by the service provider to the landowner
• How any disputes will be resolved
Who pays for it?
This is pretty much always a question of who needs the wayleave. If a tenant requires its landlord to enter into a wayleave agreement with a service provider, then the tenant will be required to cover the landlord’s legal costs as well as its own (assuming the parties instruct solicitors). The service provider will often have its own internal wayleave officers and thus will not have legal costs.
Can a wayleave be imposed on a landowner?
The answer to this is yes, but it would be through an application to the court and would take a long time compared to a wayleave negotiated between willing parties. An electricity provider can apply for a ‘necessary wayleave’ if a landowner will not agree to an electric line being installed. Another circumstance in which a wayleave agreement may be imposed is if an electronic communications operator wishes to install apparatus (such as internet fibre) and cannot reach a consensual solution with the landowner. In those circumstances an application can be made under the Electronic Communications Code for ‘Code rights’.
For more information on wayleaves, please contact Graham Jones or you can give us a call on 0345 070 6000.
To find out more about what our Telecomms team can offer, visit our Telecomms page.