Get legal agreements for broadband in your office

Legal experts warn businesses to get legal agreements guaranteeing broadband as demand for office space surges – or face ‘real monetary effects’.

The rush back to the office could be disastrous for firms if they haven’t got a little-known legal agreement in place.

A reported 300% increase in demand for office space means the commercial market is moving fast. In the rush, legal experts warn businesses to double-check they can install their own broadband into offices via an agreement called a ‘wayleave’.

“Without one, businesses can move into their new premises and discover they haven’t got the right permissions in place to install uncontested internet access. This can have serious financial ramifications, particularly for businesses that use digital marketplaces,” said Robert Rosenberg, commercial property partner at OGR Stock Denton.

What is a wayleave agreement?

A wayleave is a legal agreement between the landlord of commercial property and a tenant which gives the tenant permission to run a dedicated internet line through the property. They are particularly important for businesses renting office space where the alternative may be shared internet facilities and reduced bandwidth.

The issue is particularly salient as demand for office space in the UK is now higher than at pre-pandemic levels. The Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors (RICS) confirmed the trend in its fourth-quarter commercial property survey, while across Europe, there’s been a 300% rise in businesses looking for office space.

Do you need one?

Robert Rosenberg explained that without a wayleave, businesses which require fast and reliable broadband to serve customers could be in trouble.

“Many businesses discover they haven’t got a good internet connection and then have to wait months because there was no wayleave agreement in place,” he said. “It is not unusual for tenants to move in, and then discover the internet is inadequate and that they haven’t got the right agreement in place to rectify the problem.

“If you are on the fifth floor and the line is on the pavement, it has to go to through the building and the other floors to get to you and you need the landlord’s permission for that to happen. It seems like common sense but it’s something a lot of tenants do not know about or consider before they sign a lease.”

He advises businesses to seek legal advice before signing commercial leases.

“The expense involved in having an expert ensure your lease is fit for purpose will be nowhere as steep as losing months of profit due to a lack of broadband,” he said. “Not getting a wayleave in place can have a real monetary effect.”

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.

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