Are cell tower easement purchases required to be “perpetual”, or could they be for a specified short term?

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Are cell tower easement purchases required to be “perpetual”, or could they be for a specified short term?

I know someone with a cell tower on his property which has a ground lease to a tower company. The tower company is offering a lump sum to purchase a “perpetual easement” to the parcel. The lump sum idea sounds good, but not the idea of it being perpetual. Is perpetuity a tax, accounting, or legal requirement, or could the tower company purchase the easement with an end date of say 10 or 20 years?

Asked on September 24, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

"Perpetual" means continuous or never ending.  And I can understand your concern here.  But it is not a "requirement" at all tax wise, accounting wise or legally.  What is going on is that you are making a contract with the cell tower owner here and they are negotiating that term wit your friend.  They, of course, do not want to invest all that time and money to put up a tower that could become useless to them at some point if their easement is up.  They are not a utility company who has different rights given them by the state and laws to easements on property.  I would suggest that he or she speak with an attorney as to this matter.  Many people do not like the idea of cell towers on their land and this may hurt the resale value so limiting it in tile may be a good idea, if possible.  Good luck.


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