The Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill received Royal Assent on 15 March and is now an Act of Parliament. Although the Bill has received Royal Assent we do not yet have confirmation of when the new provisions will actually come into force.
The legislation will insert a new Part 4a into the Electronic Communications Code. These new provisions will provide a mechanism for an Ofcom registered Code Operator to make an application to Court to impose an interim agreement conferring Code rights where:
the subject premises forms part of a ‘multiple dwelling building’; and
the occupier (or grantor) has failed to respond to requests and notices served by the Operator.
A ‘multiple dwelling building’ means a building which contains two or more sets of premises which are used as, or intended to be used as, a separate dwelling. Therefore, the legislation is intended to apply to multi-occupied leasehold residential premises. The legislation is also intended to focus on gigabit-capable broadband/fibre networks.
To start the process the Operator must first give a request notice and then serve two further warning notices. A final notice must then be served before issuing the application to Court.
The Operator will not be able to apply to Court and use this process if the occupier / grantor agrees to grant the rights, or if it refuses in writing to be bound, or where it otherwise acknowledges the request notice in writing.
Once these provisions come into force, clearly it will be important for landlords of all multi-occupied residential leasehold buildings to respond to and acknowledge such requests promptly if they want to ensure they do not have Code agreements imposed by the Court without their prior approval and consent.
For more information please contact any of the authors.