Wayleave Agreements are a fundamental and crucial part of our lives and society. Without them life would be very difficult and very different to what it is today. Wayleave Agreements are essentially a right for a power company to install, place or run their equipment over you property for the purpose of providing power to the United Kingdom for all to use. Consider, without a wayleave agreement to provide power we might not be able to settle down and watch the television tonight, or make a coffee during the adverts with the kettle or check our emails on the pc, the list is almost endless. It is therefore important to understand the concept of a Wayleave Agreement and why it’s in place. But to also understand the enormity of the service it provides, if you purchase a property subject to a Wayleave Agreement it is particularly important to check if this agreement is fixed or not; as “Necessary Wayleaves’” cannot be removed under any authority.
This right is particularly important because as we all know, when we own land it is our private property, and if anybody comes onto it without permission, this is known as trespass. However energy companies need to do this to supply power. A Wayleave Agreement is a formal agreement made between the land owner and the energy company to allow them to use the land to run cables, or to place equipment or even pylons. In return for granting the right to use this land, the energy company will usually pay a fee, similar to a tenant paying rent to a landlord.
Wayleave Agreements are particularly important because they don’t just apply to the landowner who took them out but their “successors in title”, which means all who purchase and own the property since the agreement was taken out. So if you are purchasing a property with a Wayleave Agreement in place, chances are you are purchasing the agreement too, and therefore allowing the energy company the right to use your land to supply electrical power to the country. You should therefore seek legal advice from your conveyancer if you believe the property you are purchasing is subject to a Wayleave Agreement.
The reason for this is because energy companies actually have the right under the Electricity Act 1989 to make the Wayleave Agreement “Necessary & Permanent,” which means that despite the termination clause in the Agreement, it becomes a fixed part of the deeds leaving you unable to remove the equipment. Many Wayleave Agreements have a termination clause which would allow you to remove the equipment; however this does not stop it becoming fixed.
Energy companies have the authority to make an application to the Government to temporarily suspend the removal of the equipment in order to find alternative means to provide the power. And if they cannot find alternative means they will make an application to the Government, to make it “Necessary & Permanent.” When this happens you have the right to appeal, and a tribunal will then decide whether or not to allow the application.
Thursfields Solicitors are able to hire experienced Barristers to represent you at this tribunal and act as the liaison between the client and counsel in the proceedings. Considering that if the tribunal rejects the appeal the equipment will have to stay there, there is a lot on the line, and you would be wise to seek professional legal advice under these circumstances.
If you are in similar circumstances or would like further information regarding Wayleave Agreements, contact Thursfields Property Department for further information and guidance. Plus we have experienced property lawyer’s who are able to advise you if you are purchasing a property that is subject to a Wayleave Agreement, or if you think the property you are buying is subject to one.