Last edited 02 Oct 2020


A wayleave is a contract between a the owner or occupier of land (the grantor) and a third party (the grantee) permitting the grantee to access privately-owned land to carry out works in return for some form of compensation.

Typically they are used to allow utilities companies to install cables, pipes, pylons or other equipment or apparatus on privately-owned land and giving them access to the site at reasonable times to be able to carry out inspections, alterations, renewal, removal, maintenance and repairs.

A wayleave is similar to an easement, but differs in that the easements are executed as deeds, are registered with the Land Registry and are permanently attached to the land in return for a one-off payment. This gives better security to the grantee, who may be prepared to pay more than for an easement than a wayleave, but an easement may impact on the long-term value of the land if the landowner chooses to sell or lease the land.

Wayleaves include termination clauses and are not permanent, however, questions have been raised about how straight-forward it is to terminate agreements (ref. Wayleave advice), and some wayleaves are protected by statutory code powers.

Payments are generally annual, but can be made as a single lump-sum payment. A wayleave payment may consist of two parts, the owner’s payment and the occupier’s payment, and may include a contribution to the landowner’s or occupier’s legal costs. The grantee should commit to minimising any damage to the property and to make good or pay compensation where there is damage.

If it is the landowner that requires the service that is being installed, this may be dealt with under a customer service contract rather than a wayleave.

The complexity of wayleaves and the potential long-term impact on land means that both parties should seek legal advice before entering into an agreement.

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