wayleave

Wayleave Payments, Wayleave Agreement & Easement – What does it all mean?

What is a wayleave payment? What does a wayleave agreement entail? The process of landowners looking into wayleave payments and easements is increasing. As I had a lot of interest in my last wayleave article, I thought I’d add more details. I want this article to add a little bit more detail, hopefully answering some of those common questions.

What does wayleave mean?

Simply put, this is a right-of-way granted by a landowner. Typically this is given for something such as a telegraph pole, leccy tower or large structures involving wires overground. It can also be given for underground purposes such as data cabling for telecommunication companies. In order to proceed with any work, these companies need to negotiate with the landowners a agreement for the work to commence on their private land.

What is wayleave agreement?

Essentially a wayleave agreement is a form of legally binding documentation between a landowner and a utility provider. This legal agreement grants access to land for work and installation and also possible maintenance of their network or infrastructure. As mentioned above, this cabling could be above ground or underground. Typically however it’s most called upon by things that are visible such as overhanging telecommunication wires from the 50s onwards.

What is wayleave payment?

A wayleave payment is the amount of money that will be offered to a landowner in exchange for access to their property. You can quickly and easily check your local power networks via the UK power networks website. Each individual website will have its own claims process. UK Networks also has more information on the website about wayleave payments and wayleaves easements.

There are also a number of power line claim companies who will act on behalf of private landowners. I’ve written about the biggest power line claim company in my initial article on wayleave payments. Essentially, these middlemen will act on your behalf. They will contact the UK power companies or similar network provider. They will then negotiate a one-off fee from you or a percentage of the amount claimed from the power company or telecoms company. Whilst you can go through the claims process yourself, in most cases, it may be easier to use a company offering a “no claim, no fee” option.




What is wayleave consent?

The term wayleave consent literally refers to an existing consent in place to access the property. For example, you may wish to look particularly carefully if purchasing a private property with a “necessary wayleave access” note attached to the deed. This could mean that your land is of particular importance to the network provider. If it’s important to them, it may be accessed regularly for maintenance and repairs. This is not ideal if you like a quiet life. Particularly because this consent in place means these companies can enter your private land without the risk of being accused of trespass.

It’s definitely worth considering what this can mean to your property should you wish to sell it on. The reason for this is where an agreement is already in place it applies to any successors to the land, not just the current owner. This is referred to as a “successor in title” on the agreement. Whilst this might be a negative for a new owner of private property, it is a perk for the energy company or telecoms provider who will already have access.

It can be remarkably tricky to fight some wayleave agreements already in place. This is because companies are protected by the electricity Act 1989. This states that wayleave agreements can be necessary and permanent. Ultimately, it gives them the power to maintain the agreement attached to the deed for the lifetime of the property. Some companies like SSE have varied SSE wayleave payment rates offered.

What is wayleave and easement?

There are two different types of agreement that are based around people installing electrical equipment on private land:

  • One of these is a wayleave agreement. With a wayleave agreement, it is a personal agreement between the network provider and the landowner.
  • The second type of agreement is a “deed of easement”. This is a permanent right registered against the title deeds of the property.

SSE wayleave payment rates

What is wayleave valuation?

Whether negotiated by yourself directly with the UK utility company or via an intermediary, a valuation is simply the amount of money that is initially offered to you as compensation or wayleave income. It can vary wildly. This is why it may be worth using a professional intermediary to process your claim. Yes, they’ll take a small cut in the form of commission or a one-off fee, but they possess the knowledge and clout negotiate a higher settlement for you.

What is wayleave in UK?

In the UK, it can often be best to leave a property with wayleave alone. If the property doesn’t have an existing wayleave agreement, then great, there may be something in it for you. However, it may be worth considering whether claiming some money for access now would have a knock-on effect if you want to sell your property. That being said, wayleaves are becoming more and more common these days.

In the UK a wayleave is simply a licence that doesn’t bind future owners of the property. It provides UK network companies with access to your land. This may be for power cables, internet cabling, fibre optic, or even overhead power lines. In East Anglia, where I’m based, most claims are likely via new housing estates built on old farmland where no previous agreement has been in place before the land was sold on.




What are wayleave rights?

The terminology gets a little bit murky when it refers to wayleave rights. This is because there are lots of clauses in UK law and within the UK power networks documents and terminology that refer to rights. The most simple way of looking at wayleave is to compare it to “right of way” access for ramblers around the UK.  Some of these rights of way are set in stone indefinitely, others are temporary and treated as an easement. I highly recommend that you talk to a financial advisor if unsure of any terminology when considering a wayleave claim.

What is a wayleave officer?

This is the individual you would get in touch with for any wayleave queries. They are usually located in local offices. These officers are referred to as distribution network operators, or DNO’s. If you search for the UK energy networks website you should be able to look up for your local contact. For issues surrounding SSE wayleave payment rates, SSE Wayleave department and all payments it might be worth checking out my other Wayleave agreement articles.




5 Comments

  • Stephen Hopper

    November 11, 2020 at 11:08 am

    We enquired of Openreach Wayleaves office how a way leave payment is derived/calculated.

    This is the reply as of 09/11/2020

    “Please note the payment offered to you is based off the current market value of the apparatus and so the payment is based off whatever apparatus there is on your property.”

    We have filed it in the BT Gobbledygook file

    Reply
  • John Wood

    August 18, 2021 at 12:15 pm

    Moved into smallholding property in Nov 2020 – with Electricity (HV – wooden poles) running over some land.
    I am aware that the Electricity company are looking to shortly replace the Poles (as they are circa 1960s).
    Would a Wayleave/Easement negate any compensation payment for such major replacement works? Or is a Wayleave just a “rental” payment for the equipment and if any major replacement works were to take place, further compensation would be due?
    e.g. is it worth holding off until the replacement works have taken place before entering into a Wayleave agreement?

    Reply
    • savvydad

      August 18, 2021 at 12:22 pm

      Hi John. Are you aware of any previous agreement in place? In theory, this should have been declared to you when you bought the property. If there’s an easement in place over the land, this would most likely already be in place and is permanent. A wayleave on the other hand is time-limited, to a degree, and if one of these has come to an end, is lapsing, or is not in place, now would be the time I’d suggest exploring it with the utility company or your local wayleave officer at your council.

      Reply
      • John Wood

        August 18, 2021 at 4:35 pm

        This is it – I have started to explore my options and they have offered 3 possible routes:
        Annual Wayleave
        20 Year Wayleave
        Permanent Easement

        Basically I don’t think the previous owners explored the fact of a Wayleave due to the electricity poles – and so one wasn’t set up.
        And considering the company are giving the option of an easement, and the fact conveyancing solicitor didn’t report anything, there can’t have been one in place.

        I guess my question is – knowing that the electricity company are *likely* going to be undertaking some major works, if no Wayleave is in place, does this leave a better option for compensation for them to access my land? Or is a Wayleave purely just a rental payment – and any maintenance (other than visual inspection) or replacement would still be due a compensation payment for disruption etc to the land.
        E.g. does having a Wayleave in place prevent me from any extra payment? Or is it “as well as”…

        Reply
        • savvydad

          August 20, 2021 at 8:52 am

          As far as I’m aware a wayleave will have built-in criteria for what can and cannot be done within reason. I don’t believe there can be more than one wayleave, though I may be wrong about this. If there’s an existing wayleave and there are major works the company can apply to have compulsory access if the work is essential. For many balancing the need for access with potential income from an easement or wayleave is about finding something that works best for both the utility company and the home/land owner.

          Reply

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