Any general advice on what to consider when trying to pursue larger companies expiring ground leases?

In some of these smaller towns it seems as if the larger companies do not do much to even protect the leases they have as it appears they are all going after the big market locations leaving some openings for the small guy. But not sure what things to be cautious of when pursuing others locations?



There are a lot of things to think about, and worry about, concerning trying to “jump” other people’s locations. First, it is a crime to engage in “tortious interference of business”, which means that you cannot induce someone to negate an existing lease. If you do not understand this esoteric law concept, read up on it on google. Another serious problem is the fact that the existing sign company pretty much controls the permit, and may simply move the location to the neighboring property owner. They can do this by filing a demolition permit on the existing unit and, at the same time, a new permit application for the neighbor’s property. Since the permits are taken in order, there is no way you can get yours in before theirs. And the property owner may sue you for damages if you talked them into going with you and can’t get the permit. Not that they’d win necessarily, but it only costs about $80 to file a lawsuit.

Be very, very careful when engaging in that type of thing. I have a million horror stories about it. Remember the old adage “better safe than sorry”.