Danger ahead. Cell tower letters of intent = death from above. The latest sneaky trick we have encountered is cell tower companies that are using “LOI's” as an acquisition tool to unwittingly get property owners to sign what they believe to be a harmless letter. Some landlords are led to believe that this is “just a simpler way for tower companies to lock in these terms with our bosses” or “just a letter of understanding so that the potential cell tower site can be further investigated”.
Well these letters of agreement are not simple, but we can tell you that they can be legally binding in many cases. And even if your LOI says it's "not legally binding" you can rest assured that the real estate site acquisition company will hold it over your head to attempt shame you, put the guilt trip on you or question your integrity if you change your mind.
Remember, the devil is in the details of these cell tower contracts. You are being shown a letter with a handful of terms. They haven't shown you the 30 other items in the lease and more importantly, they probably haven't shown you a site plan or architectural engineering drawings yet. This is especially sensitive if a cell site is being proposed on a rooftop of an office or residential building.
Signing a term sheet like this without knowing the details is a mistake that recently cost a landlord in Colorado approximately $250,000.00 dollars in revenue over a thirty year period that they would have received if they had just picked up the phone and called us first before they listened to the cell tower developers.
Why would you ever have to sign any type of agreement before you ever see the terms?
Additionally, 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 cellular tower companies.
The consultants they hire are very charming and friendly and may remind you of you brother, cousin or child. Some are seemingly professional people who are just doing their jobs. And 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.
In our "non-legal advice-giving" wireless expert opinion... Here is the rule for dealing with tower companies or carriers who try and get you to sign a “Cell Tower LOI” ....... DON’T SIGN ANYTHING!!!!!!! Call your legal counsel or better yet call a qualified wireless lease consultant like Tower Genius that can guide you provide the industry knowledge and expertise that you need. The carriers have experts...why shouldn’t you?