The latest cell tower leasing trick we have encountered is tower companies that are using “Letters of Intent” as a tool to unwittingly get property owners to sign what they believe to be a harmless letter. Some people are led to believe that this is “just a way for us to lock in these terms with our bosses” or “just a letter of understanding so that we can investigate using the site”. Well these letters are not simple but I can tell you what they are in many cases….legally binding!
One of the people who fell for this cell site leasing ploy were not naïve in the ways of business. In fact they were very savvy real estate developers who assumed they could trust the charming young woman who was handling things for the cellular tower company. They signed a very detailed document that locked them into a deal where the carrier could impose their will on the owners. I am sure that Ms. Charming got a nice fat financial incentive for taking advantage of this overly trusting property owner. This mistake cost them over $250,000.00 dollars in lost revenue, over a thirty year period, that they would have gotten if they were properly informed prior to executing their cell tower lease.
Why would you ever have to sign any type of agreement before you ever see the terms. When shopping for a car would you sign a letter stating that you will buy a car for $40,000.00 and hand them your money hoping that they give you a new BMW when they deliver to you a 1975 Pinto? No of course you would not.
Here is another question for you. Why would anyone try and get you to sign anything unless it is binding and could be used against you in a court of law? There is no other reason…. this is the reason they try and get you to sign this. The only person that is being locked into anything is you and usually in a way that is very one sided and only benefits the carriers and the tower companies.
The cell tower leasing consultants they hire are very charming and friendly and may remind you of you brother, cousin or child. Some are fine people who are just doing their jobs. Many of them are sharks who smell a quick buck and would shove you down a flight of stairs for a nickel. Either way they do not work for you… They are hired guns that work for the carriers and the tower companies.
If you are a landlord or a property owner and have been approached by a cellular carrier or cell tower developer about putting a cell site on your property, here is the rule for dealing with tower companies or carriers who try and get you to sign a “Letter of Intent”……. DON’T SIGN ANYTHING!!!!!!! Call your counsel or better yet call a qualified wireless consultant that can guide you and fight for your rights and needs. The carriers have experts…why shouldn’t you?