A potential client received a letter from Cincinnati Bell Wireless stating that they have reviewed the client’s property and were potentially interested in leasing a portion of the property for their cell tower site. The letter includes a template lease from Cincinnati Bell Wireless and a request for the landowner to review the lease with his/her attorney first to confirm which clauses that the landowner might find objectionable. While this is understandable, Cincinnati Bell also states in the letter that legal review is a prerequisite to negotiating terms like rent or escalation. Meaning that the landowner either has two choices. First, they can assume that the lease rate will be favorable, call their attorney to review the lease and pay $1500 or more in attorney’s fees before ever actually knowing whether Cincinnati Bell intends to pay them $100/mo or $1000/mo. Second, the average landowner might decide not to review the lease in order to save the money and indicate to Cincinnati Bell that they are interested. In this case, they might give up the right to thoroughly review the contract.
We object to this specific type of site acquisition as predatory. Cincinnati Bell Wireless is forcing the landowner to either spend money on an attorney before even negotiating the lease terms or putting them in a situation where more ignorant landowners will simply choose not to get legal representation at all. To us this is lazy and predatory.
Why not simply state in the letter what Cincinnati Bell Wireless is prepared to offer? Then the landowner can make an informed decision of whether the money spent on an attorney will be well spent.
From a landowner perspective, what is to prevent the landowner from simply lying about whether they have objections to the agreement so that they can get to the discussion of the rent and other financial terms? I can’t think of anything.