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Tina, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5436
Experience:  17 years of legal experience including real estate law.
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My father purchased a property where the previous owner had

Customer Question

My father purchased a property where the previous owner had an agreement with an advertising company to use the billboard on the existing property. The lease agreement then was about $50/mo or $600- for the year. The company was bought out in the late 90s and a new lease was never created between the previous owner and Clear Channel. My question is, does my father have to continue with those terms or can he request a new lease and raise cost? We wrote to the company and one of the representatives told us that they have 7 more years because of automatic renewal. Other than their word, we have no physical contract/lease to see. What is the best thing to do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The original contract dates back to 1971, then the renewed contract was in 1992 and was for 7 years. After that there were no other contracts seen. The previous owner is an elderly woman, whom I do not think I can get a hold of. Another point is that the company that first held the lease no longer exists, as it was bought out by the Clear Channel Company.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
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Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question.

Do you have a copy of any of the leases?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I've attached all the lease documents I have, as well as an email sent to the company.
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 1 year ago.

All I see is a one page letter from 1992 but no lease documents or emails.

If it is easier, you could email them to***@******.*** and write For N Cal Atty as the subject line. Or you try to post links in this thread again.

I'll check back here in a few hours.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Apologies for not checking back sooner. I've attached the only lease document provided by the real estate agent at the time of purchase. I am wondering if there is no other lease contract, can we decide to not lease to them? If so, what would be the process to do so?
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 1 year ago.

This will take a while to review, I'll try to post again within 2 hours.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you.
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 1 year ago.

I am having trouble reading it but does paragraph 7 give you the right to terminate the lease on 30 days notice? Does that say Lessee or Lessor?

Have you checked with the County Recorder to see if a more recent lease has been recorded? This one seems to have expired in 1986...

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
According to my father they renewed the lease in 1992 for a 7 year contract, but we have no records after that.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This is the agreement
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 1 year ago.

That renewal of the lease expired in 1999.

I did not notice any provision for automatic renewal in the documents.

You need to ask the Lessee to provide a copy of the current lease or any documents that indicate that a lease is still in force.

Do you want to terminate the lease?

Have you checked at the Recorder's office to see if there is anything more recent than what you posted?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If the company is willing to pay the market rate for the billboard sign now, we do not mind continuing with them. If they decline, then we wish to terminate. Do you think this is advisable.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
How would we have access to the recorder's documents? I thought such contracts/lease are only held by the leasor and leasee
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 1 year ago.

No, a lease of real property longer than a year is a recordable document, see

The Lessee in this situation has the burden of proving that a lease is in force. If the recorder has nothing and the Lessee refuses to produce a current lease, then you are free to negotiate new terms now, or as soon as the lessee realizes the last lease expired. Or your father could lease it to a different company, or do whatever he wants to with the property.

I enlarged the first document. The 1971 lease does have an automatic renewal clause, but no one can determine your rights without seeing the so-called "existing lease" referred to in the 1991 letter. Can you please try to get that either from the Recorder or the Lessee?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay, I will get back to you once I get a chance to inquire with the company and Recorder Office.
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 1 year ago.

OK, I usually check in here several times every day. Take as much time as you need.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello N Cal Attorney,
I checked with my real estate agent, and he told me when the title was changed over to me that all documents were provided. Should I try and pursue the Recorder Office then or ask the Clear Channel Co. for a copy? Then, would it be possible for you to help me draft a letter to let them know if there is no lease that I would propose that a new one be signed or I will no longer do business with them? Could you provide me a quote for the letter?Thank you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I was thinking the new lease must reflect the rates of current billboard rates, if the Clear Channel Co. declines, then I should be okay to walk away right?
Expert:  N Cal Attorney replied 1 year ago.

Yes I would check at the Recorder's office and if there is no lease more recent than 1971 I would ask CC what lease was referred to in the 1991 letter. If there is no current lease then you are free to negotiate or walk away but I am still not sure if there is an existing lease or not.