Know your rights if approached by a utility company

Landowners are reminded that one of their rights if approached by a utility company seeking to obtain access to their land is to have their costs covered if they wish to take professional advice, says land and property specialists Strutt & Parker.

It is important that farmers and landowners know their rights when dealing with utility companies to avoid ending up out of pocket once work commences, says Michael Brown, a surveyor in the Harrogate office of Strutt & Parker.

“A common pitfall made by landowners when approached by a utility company is not to appoint an agent because they are unaware that their fees for professional advice can be covered.

“An agent will be able to help ensure that the company is operating within the provisions of the law and to ensure that the landowner is fairly compensated for the disruption they face and the costs of reinstatement.”

Mr Brown said work carried out by utility companies had the potential to considerably disrupt day-to-day-farming operations, particularly in years such as the current one where wet weather could result in significant damage to the land.

“Both landlords and tenants have a right to be compensated fairly for damage caused and future losses that arise as a result of the work and a land agent can ensure the correct level of remuneration is distributed to both parties,” he said.

Utility companies can implement statutory powers under the Water Industry Act 1991, Gas Act 1995, Pipelines Act 1962 and the Electricity Act 1989 to enter land, however they must approach land occupiers in advance and serve them with the correct paperwork outlining their proposals.

For more information about dealing with a request from a utility company, contact Strutt & Parker’s Harrogate office on 01423 706786.

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About The Author

John Swire - Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.