Common lease issues: 3 challenges with site descriptions

Rob Turner Leases

A common issue with cellular leases is a poor description of the cell site on your rooftop or property.  In many cases the lease exhibits are so hastily created that they are hand-drawn approximate locations of the cell tower on a tax parcel print out.

Why is a poor site description of concern to you?  Ambiguity means uncertainty and, potentially, disputes, over who can do what on your property.  As the landlord you have the right and should insist on absolute clarity with all exhibits, including the site description, prior to signing the lease.

rooftop lease tips

rooftop cell antenna

Here are three of the more common challenges with cell tower lease site descriptions:

  • Leased Premises – tenants asking more space than needed;
  • Unclear easement(s) – how does the tenant access their leased premises, how do they run utilities to their equipment;
  • Required buffers – are the buffers located within leased premises, or outside?

Why is a poorly described site location a concern for your lease?  If you don’t know what you have agreed to lease, your tenant may end up using much more of your property than the lease allows.

What types of issues may occur if the site description is not accurate:

  • Tenant trenches your property to run fiber optics to the tower – however they used part of your property outside the utility easement.
  • Tenant constructs their tower and its fence enclosure to use significantly more ground space that what the lease requires (how do you get that space back?).
  • Lack of clarity on where the tenant’s antennas should be located on your building’s roof;
  • Lack of how much interior building square footage is reserved for the tenant’s use when locating its antenna on the rooftop.

Have you been asked to approve tenant upgrades at the property? Has the tenant shown you a plan of where their improvements will be made?

Pro tip: We recommend you ask the tenant for more information and what they are proposing to do is not consistent with your understanding of the lease terms.

Whatever the source of the question about your lease and its exhibits, a key step to ensuring that your interests are protected is to hire a cell tower lease advisor to help you work through the lease details.

We have helped our clients successfully resolve a host of challenges with their leases, including those concerns regarding the exhibits.

Have a question?  Please call, Email, tweet or facebook a question to us – we’ll promptly get back to you!