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Got A Cell Site Lease Offer?

Got A Cell Site Lease Offer?

Work With A Local, Experienced Professional.  Trust California's Cell Site Landlord Advocates.  We Are Tower Seekers.

We are seeing a flurry of new search rings from Verizon and AT&T in Southern California.  We also know from experience that most landlords by default handle these on their own.  How do we know?  We have personally seen hundreds of leases signed without the benefit of competent representation.  Most of them say the person representing the tenant was fair and reasonable in the negotiations. That may be true, but the proof, as we say, is in the pudding.  The bad lease terms tell the story.

Tower Seekers is a Southern Calfornia based expert exclusively representing landlords.  We come to you, meet with you, and remain personally involved with ALL aspects of the transaction.  Others located outside California claiming to handle everything simply cannot do so.  We are there from the initial site walk to the final construction sign off and beyond.

Our clients tell us of the value we bring not only in terms of money but also time.  A cell site project will require upwards of 50 hours of time from start to finish.  We have seen some projects linger on for years due to delay after delay.  Many landlords don't have the time to dedicate to the complex transaction.  

Tower Seekers saves our clients valuable time and money. How much?  We routinely increase the rent by $200,000 over the term of the lease.  

Check out our video showing the details and value of what we do.  Call us free of charge 877-897-0646.  We're sure it will be worth it.

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San Diego Cell Site Lease Update - July 2013

San Diego Cell Site Lease Update - July 2013

Lease offers are being made to property owners in San Diego county for the first time in months.  We received a report that one firm is working on 80 new search rings in the North San Diego area.  Another firm is working several more in South SD.  Two of our church clients have been contacted in the past week about possible cell site on their properties.  We expected this activity but not until later this year.  

The wireless industry goes in cycles.  We are entering another cycle of new site buildout which could last a few years.  Verizon and AT&T are usually first and the other will follow.

If you are contacted about a lease on your property, our advice is to seek help.  You can contact us at 877-897-0646 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a free consultation.  Since we're local, we will come to you, meet with you, tour your property and provide recommendations free of charge.  

We are California's Cell Site Landlord Advocates.  Check out our video and web site for more information.

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Tower Seekers Offers Free Lease Review and Site Audit

Tower Seekers Offers Cell Site Landlords A Free Lease Review And Cell Site Audit


Tower Seekers is California's Cell Site Landlord Advocate.  We now offer a free lease review and cell site audit so that California cell site landlords know exactly where they stand.  Cell site landlords today are bombarded almost daily with calls, letters and emails from various entities concerning lease buyouts, extensions, decommissions, amendments, upgrades, renewals and, of course, new lease offers.  Savvy landlords are prepared to address these inquiries by knowing the contents of their leases and the status of their site.

A lease review from Tower Seekers will result in the landlord getting a concise summary of the contents of each lease.  It will include recommendations for action by the landlord and a preliminary valuation.  With this information in hand, landlords will be ready with informed responses to the many vendors contacting them.

In addition, Tower Seekers will come onto the landlord's property to audit the cell sites.  Only by personally viewing each site can an appropriate assessment be made.  We are looking to confirm site locations, easement locations, recent upgrades, valid co-locations, proper site maintenance, and address safety concerns.  We can also assess the possibility of other cell sites on the property.  Tower Seekers is willing and able to visit sites free of charge to provide valuable feedback to cell site landlords.

Our mission is to educate and protect cell site landlords.   It all starts with the Tower Seekers free lease review and site audit.  To get yours, contact us at 877-897-0646 extension 501 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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Los Angeles Cell Site Lease Update May 2013

Los Angeles Cell Site Lease Update - May 2013

We are pleased to report that new search rings have been released in the LA area.  While the 4G upgrades continue, some cell companies are turning their attention to new sites.  We have seen offers for the traditional (aka macro) cell sites and also the newer small cell sites.  The macro sites still require about 400 square feet of space and about 50 feet of height above ground level.  Smaller sites will require much less space and may be configured as a microwave backhaul service or in-fill for the cell network.

 Competition remains fierce as the cell companies vie for supremacy with coverage and speed.  Residential areas will continue to be high on the list of need for all companies which makes churches, parks and schools prime candidates for new sites.

The industry is reporting that tens of thousands of macro and small cell sites will be deployed in the next two years.  We will stay on top of all developments of interest to current and future cell site landlords and report them here and on our social media outlets.

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A Landlord Asks: Should I Accept a Lease Extension Offer

A Landlord Asks: Should I Accept a Lease Extension Offer?

Cell site landlords today are confronted with various challenges.  They are being barraged with buyout offers, 4G upgrades, renewal offers, site decommissions, lease "optimization" schemes, terminations, and mergers.  Now, add lease extension offers to the list.

SBA and American Tower are sending landlords letters offering to extend the current lease by 25 to 50 years.  In some cases, a signing bonus is offered.  Recently, one of our landlords asked whether the church should accept such an offer.  In arriving at a decision, several issues should be addressed.

First, when does the lease expire?  The closer to the expiration date you are, the more it makes sense to take a look at extending the lease. However, a lease expiring soon usually put the landlord in a better position to negotiate new and better terms. Second, who is the occupant on the site?  If a tower company recently acquired the lease from the cell carrier, they want to extend the lease as long as possible to ensure their subtenant cell carrier stays put. Third, are the terms of your lease good or bad?  Bad leases should not be extended.  Finally, can you commit to an extension of 50 years?  Think it through and be cautious.

Another important consideration is the compensation offered to extend a lease.  A few grand is an extremely small price to pay for locking in a lease for half a century.  Keep in mind most leases have unilateral termination rights for the tenant only.  Following a long-term extension, there are few, if any, ways to for the landlord to get out.

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How To Respond To A Nextel Lease Termination Notice

HOW TO RESPOND TO A NEXTEL LEASE TERMINATION NOTICE

With the ongoing Sprint Network Vision program and the Nextel site decommissions, you may have received a letter terminating your Nextel cell site lease.  While this is not good news due to the loss of lease income, it can get much worse.  To successfully respond and protect your interests, we advise using the old adage "Stop, Look, and Listen."

STOP.  First and foremost, you should stop to fully assess the situation.  Since this is a nationwide program, it attempts to use standard and inflexible procedures to accomplish Sprint's goals.  One such procedure is the use of vendors calling shortly after you get a lease termination notice offering a solution.  The solution is typically to allow Sprint to leave nearly all its site infrastructure on your property so that it can be used by another cell company tenant.  To accomplish this, the vendor presents you with a Lease Termination and General Release Agreement as part of the so-called "pay-and-walk" program.  The vendor will also add that your site is due for full decommission soon and you must decide quickly what to do.  Once you reach this stage of the process, you should stop to understand your options and rights.

LOOK.  Next, take a good long look at your lease.  Pay particular attention to the requirements for lease termination, site removal, property restoration, repairing damage, liability and indemnity.  Most leases have provision that are in your favor.  For example, the lease may state that the site must be removed within a specifc timeframe following lease termination.  You may also be protected by indemnity language that extends beyond lease termination. After eyeballing your lease, go out to your site and take pictures of it.  Notice how the site was installed and maintained.  For example, was  crane used to lift gear onto the roof?  Is the equipment shelter underground?  Get very familiar with the site and the possible complexities, timeframe and cost of removing it.  If you have a "pay-and-walk" offer via the Lease Termination and General Release Agreement from Sprint or its vendor, look it over carefully and compare it with your lease.  You may notice that this Agreement significantly alters and replaces terms in the lease.

LISTEN.  Finally, you should listen closely to what Sprint's vendors tell you.  Take notes. Ask questions. You should also seek out a trusted source of advice.  Listen to your attorney or us here at Tower Seekers as we review your options and rights.  Listen to your own voice of reason for the truth.

The Stop, Look and Listen approach to your Nextel decommission saga will help you get the facts and make good decisions.  However, in some cases, despite your best efforts, the situation may drag on to the point where the lease is terminated and rent has discontinued but the site remains on your property.  It becomes imperative at this point to seek knowledgable legal counsel.  We can refer you to a good attorney.

Don't try to do this alone.  There's too much at stake.

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Nextel Shutdown Continues

Nextel Shutdown Continues

Sprint Nextel is continuing to shutter its iDEN network by terminating leases one-by-one as part of its Network Vision program.  We have been following this project and representing landlords since last July and have reported here some thoughts and observations.  This is the latest update.

Sprint recently reported that is behind on its Network Vision program.  Its been our first hand experience that it is also behind on the decommissioning process.  The primary reason for this is the approach taken by Sprint's vendors seeking to partially decommission sites by removing the Nextel radios and batteries only.  Vendors are pitching this as a huge benefit to landlords who can attract new cell site tenants with a "plug-and-play" site.  In reality, a new tenant only benefits by the presence of an existing permit.  The left behind Nextel gear is mostly useless and obsolete.  What's more, Sprint is presenting the partial decommission as part of an agreement whereby the landlord grants Sprint a full general release of liability for the equipment and structures left behind.  This opens landlords to potential liabiltiy and risk years later if the site falls into disrepair or must be removed.  Sprint's vendor goes even further by offering to work with the landlord to bring new tenants in exchange for a split of the future rent.  Just how many sites the vendor is able to replace with new tenants remains to be seen. We have yet to see any.

In several cases Sprint terminates the lease unilaterally but fails to timely remove the site. This confirms they are behind in taking sites down. Sprint refuses to continue paying rent and takes the position that it has time following termination to fully remove the site.

We recently have worked directly with Sprint's management and legal teams on specific transactions. Negotiations have taken place for the partial decommission of sites in exchange for cash consideration.  However, Sprint is not willing to budge on the general release requirement.  Their compensation offers are also insufficient in many cases and do not take into consideration the details of each lease and site.

The Nextel decommission process places landlords in a difficult position.  Sprint is leaving landlords with no favorable outcome, especially if they stay beyond lease termination. Landlords are forced to choose the lesser evil or best bad solution.  

Tower Seekers continue to work on behalf of our clients with Sprint's in-house team and its vendors toward a better approach that benefits both landlord and tenant.  We strongly encourage landlords to get the facts, understand what's in the lease and make informed decisions.  Landlords seeking representation should contact Tower Seekers at 877-897-0646 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Tower Seekers Press Release February 1 2012

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Tower Seekers Educates And Protects Church And Non-profit Cell Site Landlords In California  PRLog  http://www.prlog.org/12071669-tower-seekers-educates-and-protects-church-and-non-profit-cell-site-landlords-in-california.html
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Tower Seekers Mailer

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TOWER SEEKERS MAILER - JANUARY 2013

 

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Los Angeles Cell Site Lease Update

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Los Angeles Cell Site Lease Update - January 2013

The latest information we have from the local representatives of the major telecom companies is that new cell sites in the Los Angeles area will continue but at a much slower pace. The push last year and into 2013 is for upgrading the existing network to 4G.  This involves adding or replacing equipment at existing sites rather than building new ones.  All the major companies have committed billions to this project which should continue througout the year.  We exepect new site deployments in the Los Angeles area to resume again later this year.  

There are a few important developments  that may also spur new site deployments. One is the advent of smaller enterprise sites used to complement existing sites by adding capacity or backhaul capabilities.  Another is the new federal government initiative to streamline cell siting.  

Any time a landlord is approached with a lease offer, our strong suggestion is to seek advice.  But keep in mind, all advisors are not equal.   Working with a licensed, local company who will be on-site to represent the landlord is preferable.  Tower Seekers is the only company offering this service in the Los Angeles area.

Posted by Mike Ritter

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San Diego Cell Site Lease Update

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San Diego Cell Site Lease Update - January 2013

The number one question we get is "how can I get a cell tower on my property?"  Anyone who tells you they can bring a tenant to you due to their vast experience or immense number of contacts fails to understand how cell sites are deployed.  The decisions are made locally, by local engineers who issue local search rings to local site acquisition firms.

Tower Seekers serves Southern California (a) because this is our "back yard" so we know the area and the local players and (b) we are licensed by the State of California only and cannot operate in other states illegally.

Being based in Carlsbad, we are initmately familiar with what's happening in the San Diego area.  Activity by the industry to deploy new sites has been very slow for the past two years.  However, lease renewals, 4G upgrades and lease buyouts are impacting just about every San Diego cell site landlord.

New site deployments may start to occur again later this year as the dust settles on recent merger activity, network upgrades are completed and consumer demand continues.  However, San Diego may not be first.  The LA metro area is typically first when it comes to improving the networks.

Tower Seekers stays updated on developments in the wireless industry.  We invite you to check back here, watch for our Tweets, follow us on Facebook or call, text or email us anytime.

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Is Nextel Defaulting on Thousands of Leases?

Is Nextel Defaulting on Thousands of Leases?

Tower Seekers clients are being dealt another blow by Sprint Nextel in the ongoing decommission project saga.  They are defaulting on their leases by failing to pay rent.  We have received reports that this is a widespread problem for Sprint Nextel as it attempt to shutter its obsolete iDEN network.  With 30,000 sites slated to be decommissioned, we wonder if Sprint Nextel is defaulting on thousands of leases nationwide.

Tower Seekers is protecting it's client's rights under the lease by providing timely notice of the default. Landlords facing this issue have legal options and must exercise care in dealing with their tenant or its representatives.  

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Church Cell Site Leases

Church Cell SiteLeases

The recent article by Kendall Taggart published in the California Watch covered some important issues relating to church cell sites.

Churches Find Revenue Leasing Steeples To Cell Companies

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ALERT: Industry Consolidation Impacts Leases

Industry Consolidation Impacts Cell Site Leases

ALERT: Industry Consolidation Impacts Leases

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Industry Consolidation Impacts Leases

Industry Consolidation Impacts Leases

Recent developments in the telecomunications industry are significantly impacting the future of existing cell site leases.  Landlords are wise to be aware of the contents of their leases and ready to see changes coming in response to tenants' merger activity, site upgrades, and tower asset sales.  Among other things, the changes in the industry are impacting the value of leases in ways we have not yet seen.

The merger of Sprint and Nextel several years ago is finally resulting in the decommissioning of thousands of cell sites and landlords are faced with choices. These Nextel leases had significant value prior to their termination. The current news regarding T-Mobile's merger with MetroPCS may have a similar affect.  Landlords with either or both of these tenant's leases may see a significant decline in value if the merger is finalized.  Today's bombshell is that Sprint and Clearwire may be acquired by a Japanese Bank thereby rendering those leases either more or less valuable depending upon one's perspective.

Another important development over the past year has been the acquisition by the tower industry of thousand of cell sites. Companies such as American Tower, SBA, and Crown Castle have been spending billions to secure sites once held by the cell companies. This results in a larger number of leases falling into the hands of a fewer number of tenants.

Our advice to our clients and landlords impacted by these changes is to be ready when a letter from the tenant arrives with such news.  First, read the entire lease and its amendments to be familiar with its terms.  Second, don't assume anything.  For example, a new tenant may wish to change the terms of the original lease via informal letter amendment.  Read everything carefully and seek clarification if necessary.  Failure to do so can result in changing the lease but not in the landlord's favor. It is common practice by large international corporate tenants to assume landlords are unfamiliar with these matters and take unfair advantage.

It is important to know the current value of a lease and how industry changes impact it's value.  To stay updated, check the Tower Seekers web site blog, read the telecom business news, or contact us directly via phone or email.   Education and preparation will help avoid costly mistakes.

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BLACK DOT'S EMPTY PROMISES

Black Dot's Empty Promises

As the Nextel decommissioning drama unfolds, a familiar antagonist has taken a starring role.  Black Dot is representing Sprint in its efforts to quickly and inexpensively lower the curtain on Nextel's obsolete iDEN show.  The story goes something like this:  Nextel landlord gets a letter from Sprint identifying Black Dot as it's agent to implement the site decommissioning.  Shortly thereafter, a Black Dot representative calls the landlord offering to partially decommission the site leaving a "plug-and-play" (their words) location for a future cell site tenant.  In addition, promises are made that allowing Sprint to take only their radios and batteries will allow the landlord to "replace the income lost from Nextel" (again, their words).  The plot thickens if the landlord shows any reluctance or hesitation.  Pressure is applied and threats are made by Black Dot to sign an early lease termination agreement and general release.  Do this now, the landlords are told, or Sprint will fully decommission your site immediately.  Cue the suspenseful music.

As an exclusive representative to cell site landlords, I am cautioning all those with Nextel leases on the list for termination to resist the pressure and get the facts.  Beware of any promise made regarding replacing Nextel as a tenant and especially about the ability to use obsolete Nextel gear.  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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Tower Seekers Newsletter

Tower Seekers Newsletter - August 2012

Click Here to View the Tower Seekers Newsletter - August 2012

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T-Mobile 4G Upgrades

T-MOBILE 4G UPGRADES

T-Mobile has been very busy this year upgrading it's network to 4G.  Many landlords are receiving letters from T-Mobile announcing that it will be making changes to the cell site equipment and/or antennas and requesting approval from the landlord.  Interestingly, T-Mobile also states in the letter that if the landlord does not respond within 30 days, T-Mobile will assume the landlord has granted approval.

Landlords must be aware that all 4G upgrades are not the same.  Landlords must first review their lease to determine whether a site upgrade is permitted.  Second, T-Mobile must disclose the details of its proposed upgrade to allow the landlord to assess how it impacts their property and the lease.  For example, a change of the same number of antennas mounted to the outside of a building may not have impact, but the addition of antennas or the change in their size could significantly impact a church steeple site.

Landlords are wise not to assume that the T-Mobile 4G upgrades are benign.  Get the facts.  Review your lease. Make an informed decision.  If you need assistance, give us a call.

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UPDATE: Nextel Decommissions

UPDATE:  Nextel Decommissions

Sprint has notified tens of thousands of landlords about the termination of their lease and decommissioning their site.  The initial offer is a partial decommission whereby Sprint takes only their "radios and batteries" leaving everything else behind.  What's more, they are advising landlords that by leaving the bulk of the site, it will be "plug-and-play" for another cell company tenant. Finally, Sprint is amending the terms of the original lease language regarding termination and site restoration.

We are advising landlords not to automatically agree to the partial decommission offer.  Landlords must carefully evaluate what, if any, use can be made of the remaining site.  In addition, we have learned that Sprint is offering cash compensation if the landlord agrees to a partial decommission.  Landlords should seek advise about their options, negotiate favorable terms, and protect their interests.  If you're dealing with a Nextel site decommission, we can help.

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Nextel Site Decommissions

NEXTEL SITE DECOMMISSIONS

If you have received notice about the decommissioning of your Nextel site, you need to know several important facts. First, it is true that Sprint has decided to decommission thousands of its Nextel sites as it replaces older technology with the new 4G platform. Second, the vendors representing Sprint are sending out letters informing landlords about the possibility of their sites being decommissioned. Some landlords are also being offered a lease amendment and release to replace the termination procedure in the original lease. Lastly, landlords must understand how the original lease termination procedure works and compare it to the proposed early termination and release scenario. We are counseling our clients that these decommissions present an opportunity to benefit by retaining a site attractive to future cell site tenants and gaining financially by negotiating favorable lease amendment terms. Tower Seekers has retained cell site construction experts with experience in building and decommissioning sites. We can fully evaluate each site and properly advise our clients about how best to manage the decommission process. Our goal is to maximize the landlord’s opportunity through education, consultation and representation.

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