Scots farmers urged to beware giving up utility access rights too cheaply

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Farmers and land owners should think carefully rather than giving up their rights under agreements with mobile telecommunications companies, Scots property experts are warning.

Landlords told by network operators that their incomes may be at risk unless they agree to revised terms should seek independent advice, according to CKD Galbraith, the leading property consultancy.

Vodafone and O2 owner, Telefonica, have agreed to share infrastructure and have set up a joint venture company, Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL), not only to improve phone reception for customers, but also looking to cut costs in response to competitive pressures affecting their industry.

According to Mike Reid, Head of CKD Galbraith’s Utilities Department, this does not necessarily mean property owners should concede to the operator’s demands and bear the brunt of cost savings.

“Some landlords will actually be in a very good position to renegotiate to their own advantage,” added Reid, who is based at his firm’s Cupar office. “Often the situation is presented as a problem that only the mobile operators can solve but even when owners feel they have little bargaining power, there is usually more than one course available.

“Reviewing the existing agreement terms often shows the operator cannot implement their proposals without the owner’s consent. We have helped many property owners in such circumstances reach an amicable settlement with their much larger tenants where, in some cases, rents have been increased and other terms improved in the owner’s favour. “

CKD Galbraith is an independent property consultancy, with 14 offices throughout Scotland.

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