Wind turbine leases need detailed legal review, lawyer says
Lawyer Garth Manning, a retired Queen’s Counsel, advises lawyers that their help is needed by clients considering signing wind turbine leases or options to lease. In an opinion piece in the current Law Times, Manning says that landowners may focus only on the amount of money they can receive by signing the document, and overlook many important features of the agreement.
“Typically, the wind power proponent incorporates a subsidiary for each individual project. Its agents obtain turbine sites from farmers who have limited understanding of what they’re being asked to do, which is to sign an Option to Lease many pages long; in this option may be a ‘further assurances’ clause that obligates them, if the option is exercised, to sign a form of lease.
“That document, many more pages long, is by far the most lessee-friendly imaginable to any real property lawyer, experienced or otherwise.
“Those farmers badly need legal advice; local law associations should emphasize this to their members,” Manning advises.
Manning emphasizes the impact of the agreement on farming practices, and on communities. Neighbours may not be too happy with the noise and effect on property value, he adds.
“Many of us went to law school in the belief that lawyers help people in trouble,” he concludes for the Law Times readers. “Here is a golden opportunity for lawyers to step up and provide the advice that is so badly needed.”
Read the full article here.