By Phillip Leaman

31 May 2018

These days, for some of us, losing mobile phone signal amounts to a personal emergency. The risk of losing signal is reducing as telephone companies like Telstra and Optus install more mobile phone towers on apartment buildings across Melbourne.

So, what does this mean for Owners Corporations?

Mobile phone towers are often installed on common property roofs of existing apartment buildings. Before a mobile phone tower can be installed on a common property roof, the telephone company must obtain approval from the Owners Corporation responsible for managing and administering the common property roof where the mobile phone tower will be installed.

Approval is generally granted by the Owners Corporation granting the telephone company a lease pursuant to section 14 of the Owners Corporations Act 2006 over part of the common property roof, which is subject to negotiated conditions including, but not limited to:-

  1. The rent that the telephone company will pay to the Owners Corporation;
  2. The duration of the lease;
  3. How the lease may be extended;
  4. The lease area;
  5. What rights of access the telephone company will have;
  6. Whether the telephone company is only allowed to repair and maintain the mobile tower, or whether it is able to add new infrastructure within the leased area;
  7. What releases and indemnities the telephone company will give the Owners Corporation;
  8. What kind of insurance the telephone company will need to obtain;
  9. What procedure will be followed if a party breaches a term of the lease;
  10. How the parties can terminate the lease.

Most mobile phone tower leases include a condition that the telephone company will reimburse the Owners Corporation’s legal expenses for taking independent legal advice about the lease and entering into it.

If your Owners Corporation Committee is considering entering into, or renewing, a mobile phone tower lease, we would be delighted to assist you. TLFC can ensure your Committee properly understands the terms of the proposed lease and ensure they are able to negotiate a commercial outcome for the benefit of all members of your Owners Corporation.

It is important that an Owners Corporation carefully reviews the terms of the lease and obtains legal advice as these leases can normally be one sided and last for a long period of time.

Any further questions, please contact Phillip Leaman, principal of the Owners Corporation Team.

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