Eight years’ experience, and the acquisition of hundreds of telecom leases in Ireland alone, has shown the team at APWireless that telecom landlords often lack the specialist current market information required when negotiating with their tenants.
Lease negotiations don’t just happen at the expiry of a lease, as telecom tenants regularly request lease amendments while in the middle of an existing contract.
These types of mid-term negotiations have been a feature of the industry for many years, but some of the more recent requests made by tenants are resulting in significant changes for landlords.
Associate director of APWireless Ronan Loughrey notes: “Because the telecoms industry is so niche, telecom site owners see us as a reliable source to advise on what is happening in the wider market and what might constitute a fair set of lease terms.
"Now, more than ever, this is needed in order to navigate the market.
APWireless’ core business provides a market for landlords to capitalise telecoms rental income
"While they do exist, it is not common to find property advisers and solicitors with specialist telecoms market knowledge, so while they are experts in their ability to deal with the specific clauses or variations being sought, they are not always able to judge what is being requested as against the wider market.”
APWireless’ core business provides a market for landlords to capitalise telecoms rental income.
Director of APWireless Eddie Joyce states: “Recently, we have seen a number of site owners who we have worked with in the past, present us with some of the changes in terms requested by their tenants.
"We are concerned that some of those changes seek to depart from what we would have considered to be market norms.
"In many cases, the terms offered are changing what was previously a more balanced relationship between the property owner and mobile operator.”
Being a large-scale landlord who operates independently of the mobile operators and tower companies, APWireless encourages telecom landlords to educate themselves on ongoing market changes.
In their experience, telecoms agreements are not at all standardised. Rents and the rights of the tenant and property owner vary, yet many site owners are unaware of this.
If asked by your tenant to amend your well-known lease terms, APWireless recommends you must know exactly what these changes mean from a commercial and legal perspective.
Without proper attention, you may be affecting the terms which you have previously accepted and enjoyed.
APWireless is seeing amended lease terms seeking to place greater restrictions on the property owner, with some clauses limiting what the property owner can do with their property and telecom sites.
Eddie notes: “It is understandable that a mobile operator or tower company would seek greater efficiencies by limiting their operating costs, but there should always be a balance with the landlord’s ability to freely deal with their property.
"Once any proposals are discussed openly between a property owner, their adviser and their telecoms tenant, a satisfactory and equitable solution should be achievable.
“It can only benefit the long-term relationship by bringing these points to the fore during a lease negotiation.
"We at APWireless seek to ensure a fair set of terms are adhered to across our portfolio and feel you, the ‘one-off landlord’, should equally achieve this.”
In its transactions, APWireless always works with site owners, their solicitors and financial advisers to ensure the landlord has clarity around what they are entering into.
They equally recommend landlords closely review any paperwork received from their telecoms tenant.
For a property owner with a telecommunication site, APWireless would ask: are you abreast of current market changes that can impact the financial performance of your telecoms mast site?
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