How to Negotiate a Cell Tower Lease – Part One

How to Negotiate a Cell Tower Lease - Part One
Speaker 1:
Hey YouTube, it’s Steve with Tower Genius. And wanted to do a quick video here in between appointments. I have a couple minutes downtime to do a quick video. So one of the questions that we get from property owners and landlords is, “Hey, we received a lease agreement, a proposal, and it’s blank. The site acquisition rep left everything blank. The rent, the term, the length of the lease, the rent increases, they just send a blank template.”

So this is a typical, lazy real estate consultant that just sends out a blank document, and wants you to negotiate against yourself. And there’s absolutely no reason to do that. If I was a property owner, and I received one of these proposals, I would politely go back to them and say, “Hey, please provide some sort of a proposal. Give me the rent that you’re proposing. Give me the length of the lease that you’re proposing. And give me the rental escalation that you’re proposing.” You never want to negotiate against yourself. You never want to blink first. And have them fill out those terms. At least send them to you in writing, include them in the lease agreement. And this is very common in rural areas where these real estate site acquisition representatives and representing a carrier tower company, trying to take advantage of a property owner, and play you against your neighbor, for example. So don’t negotiate against yourself.

The other thing that we see quite a bit of, is leases for let’s just call it for AT&T, a certain tower company based out of New York City, is presenting landlords, property owners, with lease agreements that have a 50 year term or a 10 year term. And let’s say a 10 year initial term, and 17 additional five year renewals. I can’t count that high. There’s no reason to do a 90 year lease, or an 80 year lease. It’s extremely long time to encumber your property for. So these companies will typically propose onerous terms, and these lease agreements all have at least two to three dozen items that need to be modified.

Now just a word of caution with these, I call them bottom feeder tower companies, They’re real tower companies, they’re just looking to take advantage of people. And their business model is to provide the absolute lowest and worst terms to the property owner in the form of a lease, and then pass the savings along to the tower company, to the carrier, or the tower company that maybe they sell their portfolio too. So these companies, this particular tower company, most of the time, they’re looking to poach a carrier off of an existing SBA tower, or American Tower site, or Crown Castle site, where they can offer cheaper terms to AT&T or Verizon or whomever, and save them money in the long term.

But the landlord is always getting the low end of the totem pole here, low end of the stick. So if you get one of these proposals, you want to have someone take a look at them and understand what you’re getting into. These companies are pretty unwilling to make a whole lot of changes to these lease agreements. Doesn’t mean that they can’t be properly negotiated by you, and with the right guidance. Especially if you’re in an area where you have the best site from a zoning or coverage perspective.

If you have questions about your cell tower lease, please give us a call at Tower Genius. Book a 30 minute discovery call. I’m blocking the phone number here. Our number is 888-313-9750. We can help with new tower proposals, lease amendments, lease renewals. If you receive a cell tower rental stream buyout offer, if you’re wondering if your rooftop cell site is in compliance or not, if you’re trying to figure out what the right sale tower lease, or rate is, the rental prices for your property, either new cell tower or amendment. Give us a call, book a 30 minute discovery call. Speaker 2:
You’ve been listening to the Wireless Wise Guys Podcast.

I was recruited out of Enterprise Rent a Car in 2000 by Kevin Donohue, who is my business partner today, to be a real estate site acquisition manager in the NYC Metropolitan Area for his company that was contracting for Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint. In 2008 I founded a consulting firm know today as Tower Genius, LLC where Kevin and I have helped many thousands of people and existing cell tower landlords get the help and information they need to succeed at the cell tower negotiating table.

Carriers & Tower Companies Have Their Hired Guns. Shouldn't You?

Negotiating a cell tower lease, trying to figure out what the correct cell tower rent value for your property needs to be, or evaluating the broad range of proposals and offers received by most cell site landlords in 2022 can be very confusing. Connect with Tower Genius or submit your info below, and we'll evaluate your situation, answer your questions and even make a few recommendations you may benefit from.

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