Crown Castle Cell Tower Lease and Lease Rates

If you are looking for help with a Crown Castle cell tower lease, you came to the right place. There are three reasons that you might have been searching for Crown Castle cell tower leases:

1.Crown Castle has a lease on my property, and they want to extend the lease or renegotiate it.

2.Crown Castle has sent me a proposal to lease my property for a tower.

3.Crown Castle wants to buy my lease (please see our page on Crown Castle Lease Buyouts for more information on this topic).

Here is what we will address on this page:
  1. Who is Crown Castle?
  2. Why Does Crown Castle want to extend your cell tower lease?
  3. How to respond to a request from Crown Castle to lease your land?
  4. How much are Crown Castle cell tower lease rates?
  5. What are the key parts of a Crown Castle lease?
  6. Our recommendations for improving a Crown Castle lease.
  7. How Steel in the Air can help you with your proposed or existing Crown Castle lease.

Contact Us

    How can we help?

    Who Is Crown Castle?

    Crown Castle owns 40,100 cell towers – making it the second largest tower company in the United States. Almost all these 40,100 cell towers started with a ground lease between Crown Castle (or its predecessors) and the landowner. Steel in the Air is not affiliated with Crown Castle – if you found our page by accident while looking for Crown Castle, you can find them at www.crowncastle.com.

    Crown Castle Wants to Extend my Cell Tower Lease

    Crown Castle (like other tower companies) is very interested in controlling the land under their towers for the long term. By the end of last year (2022), Crown Castle was leasing 59% of their sites while they owned the land under 41% of their sites, either by fee simple or by long term easement. Crown’s average lease term is 36 years. However, there are many leases that were entered into in the early to mid-1990’s that are coming up for expiration which Crown Castle wants to extend.

    Furthermore, Crown Castle has retained third-party companies to renegotiate existing leases with landowners. You can see a list of Crown Castle’s authorized “agents” here. These agents may claim that your lease is at risk if you don’t extend or sell it to Crown Castle – this is almost never true.

    Landowners with existing Crown Castle cell site leases are typically in a good position to negotiate. We would estimate that in 90% of situations, there is room to negotiate a better lease. Why?

    1. Because the average Crown Castle tower has 2.2 subtenants leasing space on the tower. These companies pay Crown Castle $2000/mo. or more.
    2. Because relocation of an existing tower is complicated and expensive; this generally costs $250,000 or more. 
    3. Because the wireless carriers on the towers really don’t want to move to a new location. They designed each site based upon the location of other sites and the specific coverage and capacity goals they have in mind for that location. Moving can upset the design or coverage. Wireless carriers hate to move, and in some situations, Crown Castle can’t move the tower without their approval. 

    Steel in the Air assists landowners with determining the fair market value of their Crown Castle cell tower lease.

    Crown Castle Wants to Lease my Land for a Cell Tower

    Over the last 5 years or so, Crown Castle has not been that active in building new towers in the United States. They have stayed relatively close to 40,000 sites during that time. Crown Castle has focused on small cell development as opposed to new tower development. Chances are that if Crown Castle has contacted you to lease your land, they have another tower nearby and are worried about losing the lease under it. The nearby landowner may be refusing to extend their lease with Crown Castle. Alternatively, they may be developing the property and no longer want the tower on the property. Lastly, the landowner may be asking for a sizeable increase in rent, and Crown Castle is looking to find backup options in case they aren’t able to extend their lease under the existing tower. Or they intend to use their negotiations with you to discourage the nearby property owner from asking for too much.

    If Crown Castle has approached you for a new lease, please reach out to us. We can review Crown Castle’s other towers in the area and determine whether they are likely looking to relocate from an existing tower site to your property. If not, great – we can then help you figure out how much they need your property. If they are looking to relocate, we can help you determine whether it makes sense to spend much time or money on Crown Castle’s proposed lease. We can help you understand how much leverage you have in negotiations and recommend best practices and business terms for a cell tower lease.

    How Much Are Crown Castle Cell Tower Lease Rates?

    Crown Castle’s average ground lease in our cell tower lease database pays just over $1,500/mo. although their leases range widely with some leases as low as $1/mo. and others over $10,000/mo. The average lease rate is just that – an average. This average should not be relied upon to negotiate new leases or when negotiating an extension to an existing lease. Every tower site is different and there are many factors that influence how much Crown Castle should pay for your specific property or for the renewal of their lease.

    What Are the Key Parts of a Crown Castle Lease?

    Crown Castle’s typical wireless tower lease works like this:

    1. The landowner agrees to lease a portion of land (i.e., the “lease area”) to Crown Castle for the placement of a tower. For a self-support or monopole type tower, the lease area is generally 100’ x 100’ or less. For a guyed tower, the lease area may be up to a few acres due to the guy anchors. See our page on types of cell towers for more information. 
    2. The lease includes an exhibit which shows the specific location on the property for the “Leased Premises” also sometimes referred to as a “compound.” 
    3. As part of the lease, Crown Castle is given 24/7 access to their lease area and a separate easement across the property for utilities. Generally, the landowner does not have to provide utilities for Crown Castle’s use as Crown Castle will procure their own meter and pay for their own power.
    4. Under the standard Crown Castle lease agreement, the landowner agrees to lease the property to Crown Castle for an initial term of 25 years, followed by three extension terms of 25 years. Crown Castle can terminate in most cases with less than 90 days, while the landowner is obligated for the full 100 years.
    5. Crown Castle pays the landowner monthly rent for the cell tower, though some leases are paid annually. Crown Castle’s standard lease will escalate by one to two percent per year. 
    6. The lease provides that the landowner is not allowed to interfere with Crown Castle’s wireless equipment or tower. Crown Castle may insert a clause which states that if you prevent access to their equipment area, you can be fined $500 per day.
    7. Crown Castle is not required to have insurance on their tower, unless “mandated by a federal, state, or local statute.” 
    8. Crown Castle’s standard lease requires them to remove all above ground equipment and improvements at the expiration. If you had to remove it, it would cost you between $25,000 to $50,000.
    9. Crown Castle prevents the landowner from “permitting the construction, installation, or operation on Lessor’s property of (i) any additional wireless communication facilities or (ii) any equipment or device that interferes” with their tower.
    10. Crown Castle may assign and sublease as they see fit. 
    11. The landowner is responsible for real property taxes on the entire parcel, but Crown Castle will pay personal property taxes for their equipment and will reimburse the landowner for a portion of the real property taxes that are “attributable” to their improvements. 
    12. Crown Castle adds a “Right of First Refusal” clause to all their leases which means you can’t sell their lease to a third party without first giving them the chance to purchase it. See our page on the Right of First Refusal clause for more information.
    13. The last part of the Crown Castle cell tower lease is the exhibits. These typically include a “Memorandum of the Lease,” which may be recorded with the county or city and which shows the location of the lease area on the property. 

    SITA’s Top Recommendations for a Crown Castle Cell Tower Lease Agreement

    Here are just a few of the suggestions we give our clients:

    1. 100 years is ridiculously long! We recommend reducing the total number of years of the lease to 25 or 30 years, especially if they already have a tower on your property. 
    2. Crown Castle should be required to remove the tower at the expiration and any below-ground improvements to 3’ below grade.
    3. The Right of First Refusal should be removed or if they won’t remove it, it should be narrowed so that it only applies to companies which operate cell towers or purchase the leases underneath them. It should NOT prevent the sale of the entire property to anyone. Furthermore, Crown Castle should not be able to “pro-rate” their offer based on the acreage of their lease parcel – that’s absurd. 

    How Can Steel in the Air Assist with Crown Castle Cell Tower Leases?

    We are experts with Crown Castle cell tower leases, having reviewed thousands of them over the last 20 years. During that time, we have helped more than 500 landowners with Crown Castle lease agreements and proposals. Here what we can do for you:

    Help you with Proposed Crown Castle Wireless Leases

    You may have been contacted by a Crown Castle representative (aka, site acquisition agent) regarding the construction of a cell tower on your property. We can:

    1. Advise you on the appropriate signing bonus, option payments, rent, escalation, revenue share, and lease duration terms. 
    2. Help you negotiate the best lease possible.
    3. Make sure you understand the pros and cons of entering such leases. 
    4. Help you and your attorney review the lease document and make suggestions (such as the valuable ones above) that help make sure you aren’t entering into a long-term mistake.
    5. Answer your questions before, during, and after the lease terms are negotiated. 

    Review Crown Castle Lease Extension and Renewal Proposals

    If you already have a Crown Castle lease, you may have been contacted by Crown Castle’s agents looking to extend the lease. In most cases, you don’t need to extend the lease unless it is within 5 years of the final expiration of the lease. We are experts in valuing expiring leases since we’ve reviewed more than any other consultant.

    Here’s what we can do for you:

    1. Figure out how much Crown Castle needs the site. Are there other towers nearby? Other rooftops? 
    2. Determine how costly it would it be for them to move.
    3. Provide data on what other Crown Castle pays for rent on other similar leases when they expire.
    4. Recommend how much the site is worth to them going forward.
    5. Advise on when the best time is to negotiate for the best lease terms.

    Review Crown Castle Lease Renegotiation Requests

    If you have received an offer to extend, you may have also received a request to lower the rent. You are probably somewhat familiar with lease renegotiation tactics (also referred to as lease optimization). Crown Castle retains third-party optimization agents who will try to get you to agree to better lease terms (for them). They use certain “tricks of the trade,” like high-pressure sales tactics and implied threats of termination to convince (coerce) you into worse lease terms and conditions.

    We will review the situation and:

    1. Figure out how much Crown Castle needs the site. Are there other towers nearby? Other rooftops? 
    2. Determine how costly it would it be for them to move.
    3. Figure out the probability that Crown Castle would move their cell site or tower if you choose not to renegotiate. 
    4. Review with you the pros/cons of renegotiating the Crown Castle Wireless lease

    Crown Castle Cell Tower Lease Buyouts

    Eventually, almost every lease holder receives an offer to purchase their lease. Most landowners are contacted by multiple companies who want to buy the lease. Some of these companies also try to make you think that if you don’t sell, your lease will be terminated. We help landowners daily determine what their best options are. 

    We analyze your site location and:

    1. Determine whether the lease is at fair market value. 
    2. Ascertain if there is any risk that Crown Castle would terminate.
    3. Assess the value of the Crown Castle lease.
    4. Recommend whether it would be better to extend the lease or sell it.
    5. Help you realize the best price and terms if you decide to sell

    Help your Attorney with the Lease

    Some of our clients have great attorneys who know real estate, but don’t know as much about telecom leases. We can help you (and them) understand t
    he nuances of a wireless lease. 

    If you need help with anything regarding a Crown Castle cell tower lease, here is our commitment to you:

    1. We won’t pitch you on buying your lease. 
    2. We won’t add you to our newsletter, and you won’t be contacted more than once for a follow up. 
    3. The information you share with us during the call is confidential and will remain confidential. We NEVER sell your data to lease buyout companies.
    4. We will let you know if the time is too early for our assistance, or if we feel we can’t help in your situation.
    5. The initial call is free. You don’t owe anything until you sign a contract for services with us – we also have flexible payment options to suit your needs
    Scroll to Top