Can You Hear Me Now? Leasing Property for Cell Towers
In addition to leasing property for mineral extraction, landowners may be approached by wireless companies proposing to lease the individual’s property for a cell tower site. As with any lease or contract, property owners can negotiate the terms to ensure the agreement is a win for both sides.
One of the most scrutinized provisions of the lease is the monthly rate paid to the property owner by the wireless company. As you might expect, rates vary widely. Essentially, the more valuable your land is to the company, the higher the monthly rate.
A variety of factors influence the demand for the land, and thus its value. For example:
Where is the site located? As with any commodity, demand drives price. Sites that are in heavily urban areas or along busy highways may bring a higher rate due to the number of potential wireless users.
Are there available alternative sites? A landowner has an advantage if he owns the best site in a twenty mile radius.
How expensive is construction of the tower? A freestanding tower will likely cost more than simply adding an antenna to an existing church steeple. Topography of the land or existing availability of utilities can also affect cost.
How long will the approval process take? If the community’s zoning or development approval is minimal and straightforward, the wireless company can more quickly place the tower into service.
Of course, monthly rates are not the only provision of a cell tower lease to consider. To make sure you are maximizing your lease potential, please consult an attorney.