Wireless Carrier Squatting on Your Land
An important part of lease negotiations is to understand a project’s timing. This is crucial to our strategy because some carrier leases will offer to squat on your land indefinitely without any form of restriction or compensation. Wireless cellular tower leases may subtly state that “Rent payment shall commence upon the installation of equipment.” The problem is there is no time limit on how long the property owner must wait for this equipment installation. We often have property owners approach us for help several years after having signed the lease with the cell tower nowhere in sight. This lease term says the wireless carrier has a perpetual right to build a tower on your property at an unspecified time in the future without limitations. This makes it extremely difficult for you to sell your land later because of the perpetual obligation against the property that cannot be removed. A prospective buyer of that land does not want to purchase a property that has an indeterminable obligation against it without any form of compensation. This is one of the dangers of signing a lease that has deceptive language with serious consequences that may not appear until years later. Inexperienced landlords and their consultants often miss these types of clauses because they do not understand how tower developers or wireless carriers operate. And this is just one of the 30 clauses in a typical cell tower contract.
Cell Tower Development Timeline
While negotiating and managing a tower development project (broader than just negotiating a cell tower lease) Terabonne’s staff is always mindful of the development life cycle, budget year, on-air target, coverage objectives, and engineering guidelines. This is crucially important because we need to help get the project approved at every stage of the review process. Failing any one of the gating processes can kill a project. That is why we consider a cell tower opportunity to be a project to which lease negotiations is merely one of the many milestones. Property owners mistakenly believe all they need is to negotiate the cell tower lease and discover years later that the project mysteriously was cancelled. They call it bad luck. We call it a bad hiring decision and poor project management. And since we are always mindful of the timeline, we are aware of contract terms that grant too much time, intentionally or unintentionally, that can have consequences for our clients. Hire experience because it matters.
Let’s discuss your cell tower situation. We will share with you what we know about the cell tower on your property. Never a fee until we agree to work together and we deliver results. Our services and fee will always be in writing before we start work. Email, call or send us a message anytime.