Somebody wants to put something on your roof: You say...
November 2, 2012 2:26 PM   Subscribe

Commercial landlords/property management: You are approached by a solar power company or a wireless telecom company that wants to lease space on your roof. Can you list in order of importance (to you and your firm) the issues that you want to be fully informed about and cover point by point in negotiations and any potential lease?

I'd like to get some feedback from the point of view of a person that owns/manages a building and does not have any existing business relationships with wireless telecom companies or other potential tenants of commercial rooftops. What do you care about most? What questions do you have for a potential tenant? How are you concerned about balancing a minimum of disruption for tenants with the potential rent earned from a rooftop site?

Where do you draw the line between aesthetic considerations versus the monthly rental rate?

What kind of liability insurance do you want potential tenants to carry?
posted by thewalrus to Work & Money (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
1. Have your own guy (building inspector) check their installation plans for feasibility and potential risk/harm/damage to the property. You'll base your security deposit/escrow account on this info. (You're likely looking at $20,000 or more.)

2. See a commercial real estate attorney about drafting up a zero liability contract for you. It will be an expense but very much worth it. Yes, it should include a full liability insurance coverage requirement.

3. Negotiate. It's very likely that this company will pay for both the legal and inspection fees.
posted by snsranch at 5:31 PM on November 2, 2012

I can't help with a lot of your question, but: my condo building (a highrise) has rented roof-space to multiple companies.

Aesthetics: some are like vertical cylinders placed near the roofline; some are pretty much out of sight from the ground. It varies. Also, most can be painted nice unobtrusive colors.

Payment: check around and see what other, similar buildings are being paid. My HOA didn't do their homework before signing with the first outfit that wanted to place cellphone repeaters on our roof, and in consequense we got stuck with a longterm lease for a VERY low fee to us. (They did better with the subsequent companies.) Oh yeah, one more thing to get in writing: what happens to your leases if two of the companies who currently have separately leased space for their repeaters on your roof, decide to merge into one company?

Lease terms: the cost, of course, but also how long is that lease for? How will the repeaters be physically attached to the building, how will they be powered and how will the power lines access the roof (what kind of holes will they be drilling in your roof), and who is responsible if/when those holes leak water down into the roof (I guarentee, you DO need to pay attention to that one!)

Installing the repeaters: how long does it take, how much disruption to the building residents will it cause, how much of it will be done from the outside (cranes taking up parking lot space, for instance) and how much from the inside (elevators unavailable to residents because they're full of construction materials and workers).
posted by easily confused at 5:53 PM on November 2, 2012

Don't sign away a right-of-way from their installation to the center of the Earth (basically the default contract). Plenty of churches and other "local highest point" buildings discover a hair too late that they've accidentally signed away to the right to use their front door for 99 years.

Other than that, these deals generally count as cherry, and for the most part they don't want to screw you, they couldn't care less about you and just want their gear on your steeple/roof/tower/whatever. 10k/year free cash for giving their maintenance guy a key, more or less.
posted by pla at 9:22 PM on November 2, 2012

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