I'm talking with my lawyer about putting together some billboard leases for me, and although I have a good "example" ground lease I don't have any example sales lease (the contract the advertiser would sign). What might this look like? He suggested that it would be a sublease, is that right? Where could I learn more about this?
We deliberately don’t include advertising lease forms in our materials, because they are the most litigious contract in the billboard industry, and are different from state to state. Your best beginning spot is to get one from a competitor – they are not that hard to obtain. You probably know somebody who has advertised on a billboard in your market that will give you a copy of theirs for free, and you can use that as a template. Almost every billboard company in existence got their advertising lease that same way in the beginning. At least that way, it will be based on your state laws.
The reason they are so litigious is that the number one problem as a billboard owner is getting your rent from a hostile advertiser who wants out of their lease. The first thing a tenant does in that case is take the lease to their lawyer and ask them to break it. Or you end up in court, and the whole focus of the case is the lease form and if there is any trivial item that would negate it.
The lease itself is normally one 8 1/2" x 11" sheet, printed front and back. It is not a lengthy document. It is very straightforward. But it is critical that you have an attorney review whatever you do, because it will, at some time, be examined with a magnifying glass by a hostile attorney.