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Recommendations for New Cell Tower Leaseholders

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Graphic of issues facing new cell tower leaseholders


Mark the calendar

Add the commencement date to your calendar, along with notification dates for lease renewals or expirations. Doing so will help you track when your rent is scheduled to escalate and when the lease is set to expire.

Keep Documents

Way too often, we find that clients do not have all of their lease documents. We then have to help them request the documents and organize them. Keep your lease, any amendments, any exhibits or construction drawings. Feel free to discard requests to renegotiate or the many cell tower lease buyout offers you will undoubtedly receive.



Real Property Taxes

Most leases include a provision that allows you to seek reimbursement for any property taxes related to the tower. However, the same provision typically limits your ability to request reimbursement to one year after the tax bill is received. Don't miss out on this reimbursement.

Income Taxes

Rent payments are typically considered taxable income. Thus, every April, you will owe taxes on the cell tower lease income. It might make sense to keep one month of rent in the bank to pay for these taxes, as there is no withholding in rent checks.



Lease renegotiation requests

You will inevitably receive one or many requests to renegotiate your lease from a lease optimization company. They are retained on a contingency basis by your lessee to try to convince you that your lease rate is too high. If you have a new lease, there are very few situations where it makes any sense to agree to a lower lease rate.

Lease Extension Requests

So, your lease recently commenced, but the tower company is already looking to offer you a one-time payment to extend it further? They typically offer $5,000 or $10,000 payments to get you to extend. Hint: it is not worth it. Do not extend your lease.



Lease Buyout Offers

Once the tower is erected, prepare for a bunch of unsolicited offers to buy the lease. Never accept the first offer. If you think you might want to sell the lease, contact us, and we can discuss your options and provide a rough idea of the value of your lease.

Need to contact the lessee?

Most tower companies and wireless carriers have landowner help desks. Google “your carrier or tower company name” plus "landowner help desk" to find out how to reach them. Most lessees require that you register with them first.



Maintenance Requests

It will not be long before you receive a request from the tower company or wireless carrier to perform "maintenance" on the cell site on your property. They almost always claim they have the right to do "maintenance", whether the lease allows them to do so or not. Sometimes they are doing actual maintenance- but other times they are doing modifications to their equipment that is outside the scope of the lease. If you are not sure, contact us.

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