Insights Commercial Property Law – Key Considerations (February 2023)


Our February 2023 summary of the latest developments in Property law and practice is as follows:

The Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act 2022 received Royal Assent on 6 December 2022.

Part 2 of the Act makes various changes to the Electronic Communications Code (ECC), with the intention to speed up negotiations for installing and maintaining electronic communications apparatus on land. Changes include:

  • Expanding the existing code to a right to share electronic communications apparatus with another operator
  • Allowing operators under subsisting agreement (i.e., those in force when the new code came into existence in December 2017) to upgrade and share apparatus, subject to notice and the upgrading and sharing have no adverse impact on the land or its owners
  • Amending the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 to deal with assessing rent for renewals of business tenancies that were granted before December 2017
  • Transferring jurisdiction for lease renewal disputes under the 1954 Act from the County Court to the First-Tier and Upper-tribunal.

The Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act 2021 (Commencement No. 1) Regulations 2022 (SI 2022/1308) introduced new sections to schedule 1 of the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act 2021 in December 2022.

The amendments introduce a new obligation on landlords, requiring them to facilitate the deployment of digital infrastructure if requested by a tenant.

The Law Society had published an article warning conveyancers that they should consider informing their clients of the risks involved with using companies that claim to offer help with SDLT refunds. There is a risk that the basis for correcting SDLT returns is wrong.

There have been many appeals in recent years by purchasers trying to push the legislation, such as claiming multiple dwellings relief, or the mitigation scheme. The Law Society suggests conveyancers may wish to explain to their clients that these companies use these types of arguments to entice companies.

The Land Registry has updated its guidance to advise applicants that the Land Registry may make an entry into the register relating to unpaid inheritance tax without reference to the applicant where title is subject to a first registration application following a voluntary conveyance.

On death, HMRC is entitled to an inheritance tax charged on the deceased’s estate. The Land Registry is obliged to enter notice on the register for any interest which could affect the registered estate. This can include a notice of unpaid inheritance tax.

To avoid an unexpected entry on the register, the guidance suggests that sufficient evidence is produced to prove that there is no such tax charge outstanding, with written confirmation from the HMRC.