Rooftop Leases

Building Revenue with a Rooftop Lease

If you are a commercial property owner looking to generate some additional income, you should consider utilizing your property’s rooftop.  If the property fits the criteria defined by the wireless carriers, you may be able to enter into a rooftop lease for a wireless cell site.  Leasing a commercial rooftop to a cell phone carrier is a great way to generate consistent and quality income from your property.

Although any additional income probably sounds great, you should be aware of all of the potential issues that could arise and know the true value of your rooftop property before signing on the dotted line.  Although wireless carriers will own the equipment, they should never be allowed the authority to sublease.  However, this might not be possible in all situations. The carriers may install equipment that saves them money, but there are implications to you as the building owner.  This concern and other details like it should be addressed during lease negotiations.

Access may be difficult.  This is particularly true in hospitals and buildings that have security concerns.  Problems like these are the reason it is necessary to anticipate potential difficulties. You want to minimize or mitigate any issues before they cause a problem.  Another important aspect of a rooftop cell site involves your ability to develop the property in the future.  Some contracts will make it difficult for you to develop the property at any point in the future, which is why we recommend retaining these rights, as well as the flexibility to develop your property how you see fit.  If you don’t, clauses like these could end up becoming a major issue for you in the future.

Additional concerns could arise over whether the wireless carrier will have 24/7 access to the property.  They will strongly encourage you to grant this. This is one of the areas where a rooftop lease consultant, such as a team member from CellWaves, could be an asset.  The CellWaves consultant will negotiate the best terms for you and will help mitigate the stress of negotiating such a long-term contract.

Ultimately, the wireless carrier’s biggest concerns arise over timeliness and cost, which aren’t necessarily helpful to you.  Just make sure you have the ability to track their work activites to assure quality installation during and after construction.

One of the important questions you will want to answer is how much the wireless carrier values the rooftop lease.  Another notable area of concern is all the ways a wireless carrier will request your cooperation.  Be aware, the lease usually grants responsibility to the carrier for meeting necessary zoning requirements, in addition to obtaining permits.  They will be required to comply with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) rules and guidelines.

Additionally, the equipment will use utilities, and the contract should state who will be responsible for the bill associated with those utilities.  There are a variety of ways this can be negotiated. In some cases, you and the carrier will be metered and billed separately. Other situations will have you pay for all utilities and be reimbursed.  If you partner with a CellWaves consultant, you will be better able to determine the best method for your particular property.

Another tip for you is to know that inflation will be an issue, as well as the potential for increases in utility rates.  Be aware of any future spending that might impact the agreement with the wireless carrier company. The contract will likely span several decades, which means you will want to carefully consider all the potential pitfalls that could affect your rooftop lease revenue.

What should you do if a carrier contacts you about a lease?  An owner of a cell tower or property under review for cell tower construction is likely to be optimistic about being contacted by a major carrier. If you have been contacted by Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or Sprint, you can expect each company to operate differently and play by different rules.

As with calls from any carrier, the first step is determining the value of your property. We can aid you in determining the value based on industry standards to properly set reasonable expectations before an offer is made. Beyond the initial valuation, our experience with the major carriers can lend credence to offers on the table while providing you a realistic goal to work toward.

This can sound somewhat overwhelming, particularly for someone new to the business of rooftop leases.  One helpful option is to hire a rooftop tower consultant. When you employ the team at CellWaves, you will benefit from the expertise of professionals who are not bound by the lease terms proposed by wireless carriers or their agents.  And that is only the beginning of what we can do to help. Here is how we have helped other property owners like you.   CellWaves has worked in the wireless industry for decades, so they know exactly how to maximize your property value.