A good portion of our business comes from landowners who have received offers to extend their leases from the large tower companies like Crown Castle or American Tower. We evaluate the proposals and recommend what the tower lease is actually worth to our clients. Our clients have had a good deal of success with negotiating the lease terms for their extensions with American Tower and Crown Castle. Out of these two companies, we prefer Crown Castle. Not because they offer better deals than American Tower but because they are much more responsive. Crown Castle has a entire group dedicated to pursuing lease extensions and lease buyouts- while it appears that American Tower has a handful of people that are clearly overburdened.
With American Tower, it frequently takes weeks for our clients to get a response at all. When they do negotiate amendments to their leases and sign a term sheet, it can sometimes take 5 months before the actual lease amendment is signed and the client starts receiving their increased lease rate from the extension. We don’t know if this is intentional or otherwise, but one of our clients has lost over $20,000 as a result of the delay between their signature on the amendment and American Tower’s execution of the amendment. We have started advising clients that they put a drop dead date on their signature or require that American Tower sign first.
Accordingly, if you are negotiating an extension with American Tower of your land lease, you should tell them that they need to sign first. If they won’t sign first, then make sure that the amendment includes a date on which lease payments will start regardless of when they sign. For instance, if you sign on Jan 1, then state that the increase rent will have deemed to commence on March 1, regard