Cell Co. to Potential Landlord: Use an Attorney and You’ll Regret It.

I’m simply amazed by many of the tactics used by wireless carrier agents (and therefore condoned by the carrier masters).

Most recently, carrier agents for several big wireless carriers have starting telling potential cell site landlords that if those potential landlords retain the services of outside counsel to help negotiate the lease, there will be financial consequences.  Sometimes the threat is the loss of a paltry signing bonus.  Sometimes its reduction in the proposed monthly rent.

What strikes me about such threats is how two-faced they are.  I know of exactly zero—zilch—nada— wireless firms that enter into lease without having their own attorneys review the documents first.

I tell clients that hear these threats that they should be even more cautious about entering into leases.  The stock leases promoted by wireless carriers are, not surprisingly, aimed at grabbing as much as they can from the landlord while paying as little as possible for those grabs.  Given that the leases usually run from 20 to 30 years* a landlord making a mistake or missing some well-hidden key point at the lease inception will haunt the landlord for decades.

Duck away from the sucker punch: If the carrier’s agent makes a veiled or direct threat in response to your decision to retain outside counsel, trust your gut.  Someone who doesn’t want you to use an attorney has a very good reason for that, and it’s not because they want to do you a favor.

Caveat Locatorem.

*One wireless tower firm now claims that their standard lease is 100 years in duration.  My response: If that’s that case, we’re going to put even greater limits on what they can do at the property.  Their response: Either silence or sucking sounds.

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