What to Watch Out for on a Cell Tower Lease Agreement

     Landlord contractual mistakes and unforeseen scenarios

    Unfortunately, in lease negotiations, even the minor mistakes that landlords make could result in costing hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout the lease’s lifetime. 

    Agreeing to seemingly innocent terms could have negative repercussions for a landowners property.  Some contractual terms are the expansion of land requested for unnecessary cell tower equipment causing property damage and steady growth of vehicular traffic to your property. 

    It’s even possible that circumstances turn dire before you even start, despite signing a lease with a wireless career you may not be entitled to any rent. 

    In rare scenarios, your site may be redundant between signing a lease and when construction begins for the following reasons: Title issues, Failed Soiled Samples,  Setback Restrictions, Zoning Restrictions and many more. 

    Property owners not only have to deal with this burden but also suffer from a lack of compensation. 

    It helps to have wireless technology engineering and leasing knowledge when beginning negotiations to fully understand the technical jargon written potentially hiding important issues. Cell companies take advantage of this fact when approaching property owners. 

    Hiring a Cell Tower Consultant

    If you’re worried about these issues and need a helping hand, you can hire a cell tower consultant to guide you through the process with your best intentions in mind. 

    Worth the expense a cell tower consultant will go through the contract with a fine-tooth comb, tackling every issue and giving you the best deal possible. 

    However, it is still important for landlords to have a good idea of what these issues are in detail. In this guide, we are going to discuss some of the negotiation pitfalls you may encounter. 

    Excessive space requested on a Property owner’s land 

    Through time, tower companies and wireless carriers have found clever ways to make clauses which seem inconsequential to landlords during negotiations. One of these is the amount of space really needed for a cell tower.  


    If you’re unaware of the amount of space necessary to construct a cell phone tower we’re here to tell you that 2,500 square feet is considered a lot of land, and for rooftop cell towers it would be substantially less.

    Surrendering more space than necessary in your contractual agreement may result in your property being burdened with more equipment than necessary, these include monopoles, lattice towers, monopines, and much more. 

    Not only can they block access points for yourself and residents but also make the property visually unappealing for potential buyers. 

    During negotiations, if these wireless clauses are not denied. 

    Landlords over the years may eventually find their home overrun with not just an abundance of equipment but also wireless personnel such as servicemen, technicians and tower climbers and even noise, light, cars, and trucks. 

    If you are currently in a lease agreement, you’ll want to maintain land restrictions that were initially agreed upon, ensuring phone tower companies don’t overstep their boundaries. 

    Right of First Refusal Offer (ROFR)

    One of the more significant issues that landowners overlook entirely is the Right of First Refusal (ROFR) clause. If executed, wireless carriers will quickly gain the upper hand in terms of bargaining power when you decide to sell your property.

    What does ROFR mean? ROFR is a contractual term where you are required to inform your wireless carrier and tower company that you have been receiving offers for your property, land or wireless lease. This is problematic as wireless carriers have the choice to match this offer immediately, quickly dissuading new offers from potential buyers.

    In fact, if you intend to sell your lease a cell tower lease buyouts company will initially review the contract to see if ROFR exists, so they are made fully aware that their offers can be matched. 

    Approvals and Compliance

    Whenever you enter negotiations with a wireless carrier, you will need to know that all the necessary permits have been obtained, which are approved and legal. Carriers will also need to comply with FCC regulations, which include radio frequency emissions.  

    Without these permits work done on your property is unregulated and potentially illegal, resulting in property damage or potential danger for residents living inside. 

    If you own a building and have a rooftop installation in process inspections need to be made to ensure the integrity of the building isn’t compromised, endangering all residents who live inside. 

    Insurance and Indemnities

    Similarly to required permits, landlords can help protect themselves by ensuring wireless carriers have adequate insurance. Although most leases require carriers to have insurance, chances are it may not be enough to protect the landlord adequately.

    A cell tower lease agreement has to have liability and property insurance where amounts are adequate to cover damages. Furthermore, landlords should be able to increase these amounts overtime throughout the entire duration of the lease. 

    As many corporations choose not to take a third party insurance, you’ll want to include various conditions in the agreement; these include commercially reasonable limits, an efficient claim management process and a limit on the amount that can be self-insured. 


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