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Current Issues in Cell Tower Leases


Understand the terms of your cell tower lease and avoid provisions that harm property values and the future use of the property.

Get answers to the two most frequent cell lease questions: What is the going rental rate for cell leases -- particularly the thousands of leases coming up for renewal? Why 5G cell service is not affecting rents or sales prices, and what terms should you avoid in your cell tower lease that harm property values and the future use of the property? This program provides the A-to-Z basics of cell tower leases and lease sales and is taught by two faculty members with decades of experience representing property owners on cell tower leases and sales. It covers entering into a lease, renewing a lease, and selling a lease while emphasizing rents, sales prices, terms, and in particular, avoiding provisions that harm property values and the future use of the property. The program will help property owners and attorneys, who only occasionally deal with cell leases, better negotiate with wireless industry personnel who work on leases every day. It starts by covering key business issues in cell site leases, initial rents, average rents, and rent increases possible at renewals, avoiding clauses that interfere with the normal use of the property, and why 5G service should have little impact on the preceding. Why leases for antennas on buildings are more complicated, requiring special provisions. After covering more conventional lease terms, the program addresses the sale of cell leases and future leasing rights. This program includes typical sale prices (currently around 20 times annual rents), when to sell and when not to sell, and how to get the best price and terms in a sale. It emphasizes avoiding sales terms that the presenters have seen destroy property value by pre-venting its normal use and development. For municipalities, the topic addresses additional key items in cell leases and lease sales that are unique to them. For all wireless landlords, the material covers such topics as lease terms and terminations, access requirements, radio frequency interference, design and camouflage, and radio frequency emissions safety. This topic is particularly important for commercial landlords, developers, and the like, who often own attractive sites for cell leases but are most at risk from a poor lease or sales terms harming the value of the property with the lease.



John W. Pestle, Esq.

John W. Pestle, Esq.

Varnum LLP

  • Chair of the Telecommunications Group at Varnum LLP law firm
  • Representing property owners nationwide on cell leases for 27 years
  • Helped clients sell over 100 cell leases
  • Graduate of Harvard, Yale, and Michigan Law School
  • Can be contacted at [email protected] or 616-336-6725
Jonathan L. Kramer, Esq.

Jonathan L. Kramer, Esq.

Telecom Law Firm, P.C.

  • Senior partner at Telecom Law Firm, P.C.: Offices in Los Angeles, San Di ego, and Boston
  • Attorney admitted in California and New Mexico
  • Wireless leasing and zoning experience for more than 25 years
  • Over 6,000 wireless projects (zoning, leasing, lease enforcement, lease sales)
  • Radio frequency/Broadband telecom engineer for more than 45 years
  • Doctor of Law and Policy, Northeastern University
  • Can be contacted at [email protected] or 310-312-9900, ext. 121
No photo available

Peter A. Schmidt

Varnum LLP

  • Partner at Varnum LLP and the chair of Varnum’s real estate practice team
  • Represents property owners nationwide on cell tower matters, including leases and sales of future leasing rights
  • Clients include real estate companies, municipalities, schools, churches, businesses, as well as individual landowners and trusts
  • Graduate of Albion College and the University of Wisconsin Law School
  • A Fellow in the American College of Mortgage Attorneys
  • Can be contacted at [email protected] or (616) 336-6411

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