A Cell Tower Lease Landlord Attorney’s Dangerous Tool – A Tape Measure

tape-measure.smallOver the years, my staff and I have inspected a heck of a lot of cell sites on behalf of our cell site landlord clients for lease compliance purposes, and for local governments who ask us to perform the same inspections for permit compliance purposes.

Well, it turns out that somewhere about 30% to 40% of the time, the cell site (a) exceeds the size allowed in the lease; or (b) the cell site has been placed…or moved…to a location other than was was shown in the lease or permit; or (c) other mischief in the physical placement of the site has occurred.

We find these things when we use our very handy tool, a 100 foot tape measure.  In fact, the photo is of one of our tape measures.

Why is this important?  Over the last couple of years, we have recovered over $1 million in lease underpayments and increased cell site lease payments going forward. Are you giving away your property without proper compensation?  For local governments, a cell site that violates a permit condition is most likely going to be excluded from Section 6409(a) and NOT subject to the mandatory approval required under that law.  If you’re a local government planner or attorney, you KNOW how important that can be in your planning process.

I think this is such a powerful tool for a cell site landlord’s attorney, or an adviser-inspector to local governments that I start out most of my lectures advising landlords, their attorneys, and inspectors to go out and spend $20ish to buy a 100 foot tape measure, measure the boundaries of their cell site, and compare the actual measurements and cell site location to what’s shown in the lease or permit.

Recently, I received some very kind words about the power of the tape measure from a landlord’s attorney in Missouri, Brandon Moonier, Esq. of Thurman, Howard, Weber, Senkel & Norrick, LLC, who wrote saying:

I have taken many of Jonathan Kramer’s seminars and will keep going back for more.  His insightful, practical and relatable approach to cell tower leases left me with valuable tools to use in my practice.  Upon Mr. Kramer’s urging, one of the tools I now carry is a tape measure. This simple trick of measuring the leased area has made thousands of dollars for my clients.   Bravo, Mr. Kramer.  Please take your bow.

–Brandon T. Moonier, Esq., Partner of Thurman Law Firm, Hillsboro, Missouri. 

Well, it’s always gratifying to hear that lessons taught are lessons being learned–and put to good use.  Bravo, Mr. Moonier…now YOU take your own bow!



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