The topic of wayleave comes up frequently in respect of office moves and often comes as a surprise when things take longer than expected and a huge frustration when essential telecom and connectivity services can not be installed. The signing or granting of a a wayleave can be the biggest hurdle in the installation of a new WAN link or internet connection to an office.
A wayleave is the consent in writing that allows a telecoms service provider (BT Openreach/Colt/Virgin) to carry out work on privately-owned land. It’s a written legal agreement between the telco and the land/property owner that grants access to install, maintain or repair the necessary network equipment to provide a service to those living or working at the property.
The only exception is where the owner is the person requiring the telephone service. In this instance, any apparatus that needs to be installed is covered under the ‘Customer Service Contract’ and no wayleave is required.
Otherwise, a wayleave agreement must be obtained prior to installing any apparatus on a new development, or on private land which is providing service to third parties.
So far, none of this sounds particularly difficult. Problems arise, however, when Landlords appoint their solicitors to manage the wayleave process and when 3rd parties fail to understand the importance of Wayleave in the overall office move process. Wayleave is often the essential prerequisite to any work being done to commission new telecoms circuits and, as such, until it has been granted, it is impossible to put a date to any new installation. We have seen solicitors demand upfront payments of £ 1,000.00 for their expenses in managing the Wayleave process, and notwithstanding this, it still take months to finalise the work.
The best advice when dealing with Wayleave is to make a point as quickly as possible of finding out who the key decision makes are on the part of the landlord, or building owner. Contact them directly and ensure that they understand the importance of Wayleave in enabling you to move into your new premises. Ideally, Wayleave should be discussed as part of the granting of a lease. If this cannot be achieved, however, it should be completed immediately thereafter. Arguments over Wayleave can go on for many months.
BT Openreach has a Wayleave FAQ section on their website, with a few of their pointers included below.
- What is a wayleave?
A Wayleave is a written agreement. It allows us (Openreach) to access a consumer’s land so that BT apparatus can be installed, or maintained, or repairs can take place.
- Why is a wayleave required?
Openreach requires a Wayleave to access third party property; this is all detailed in the Electronics Communication Code. Without a Wayleave we may not be able to provide service.
- Are there any exceptions?
The only exception is where the owner is the person requiring the telephone service. In this instance, any Openreach apparatus that needs to be installed is covered under the Customer Service Contract and no wayleave is required.
- When should a wayleave be obtained?
A Wayleave agreement should be obtained prior to installing any BT apparatus on a new development, or on private land which is providing service to tenants or third parties.
- How long do I have to obtain a wayleave?
We want the service to be provided as quickly as possible for the customer and end-user (i.e.: the resident or business). The sooner the wayleave application is agreed, signed and sent back to us, the sooner we can get to work. We normally only send out one reminder letter, but hope to have had a response within 12 weeks.
- How long does a wayleave last?
Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, a wayleave is an on-going agreement which continues to apply to the apparatus it covers, even if the ownership of the property subsequently changes hands.
- What does a wayleave application look like?
A wayleave application provides basic details of the applicant (Openreach) and the land/property owner concerned (“The Grantor”), as well as details of the proposed location and details of the actual apparatus concerned. Details of any appropriate payment to be made are also advised.
You can find a copy of the standard BT Openreach Wayleave Application on their website, along with their standard covering letter.
Wanstor have a great deal of experience working with both landlords and customers as they look to move offices. We would be happy to help you too. Please call us on 0333 123 0360 or contact us online so that we can help manage the process for you.