T-Mobile Sues Property Owner Over Antenna Facility Access

Last Friday, T-Mobile filed a lawsuit against the individual owners of a property in Bayside, New York, alleging they refused to let the telecommunications business perform necessary upgrades to its onsite equipment, even though the parties’ lease expressly allows it. According to the Eastern District of New York complaint, the defendant landlords have instead tried to extract additional payment from T-Mobile in exchange for the desired upgrades.

T-Mobile’s tenancy dates back to 2008, the complaint stated, when the parties signed a lease permitting the plaintiff to use parts of the rooftop to install and maintain a wireless facility. The facility purportedly consists of telecommunications equipment, including radio transmitting and receiving antennas, equipment cabinets and related cables and utility lines.

The site’s “expansive network of wireless communications equipment” reportedly serves T-Mobile customers and provides mandated 911 services in the area. Since mid-2019, the complaint explained, T-Mobile has repeatedly sought the landlords’ permission to perform upgrades to the facility, including the replacement of the existing antennas and the addition of three more.

Yet, the filing contended, despite “the importance of maintaining and upgrading wireless antenna facilities,” and the lease’s explicit provisions that “unambiguously allow for upgrades,” the defendants have rebuked T-Mobile’s efforts. Instead, they have “unreasonably conditioned … consent” on the signing of a new lease that would require T-Mobile to pay substantially higher monthly rent than the lease’s terms currently require.

The complaint stated four claims for relief from the defendants’ purportedly willful breach of contract. It requested an order compelling the defendants to allow the upgrades, declaring T-Mobile’s affirmative rights under the contract, enjoining the defendants from interfering with those rights, and granting the plaintiff its attorneys’ fees and costs.

T-Mobile is represented by Porzio Bromberg & Newman PC.