What’s a Billboard Worth? For One L.A. Property Owner, Almost Nothing

The Clear Channel billboard above, on Huntington Dr. in the El Sereno area of Los Angeles, brings the property owner $240 a year, according to a copy of a rental agreement filed with a lawsuit last month in L.A. County Superior Court.  When there is no ad copy on the billboard, the rental paid by the billboard company drops to $6 a year, by terms of the agreement signed in 1968 by a previous property owner.

Portion of rental agreement filed with lawsuit (click to enlarge)

The lawsuit alleges that the agreement between the former property owner and Foster & Kleiser,  a predecessor company to Clear Channel,  is “unconscionable” and should be voided.  The lawsuit further alleges that the current property owner, Marilene Sforcin, has demanded that Clear Channel remove the billboard, but the company has refused.  The property is the site of a Brazilian restaurant.

The agreement for the double-sided billboard erected by Foster & Kleiser provided for rental terms of 10 years, renewable indefinitely.  According to the lawsuit, the property owner could cancel the agreement only by giving written notice 30 days in advance of the end of a 10 year term.  The current term expires in 2018, according to the lawsuit.

The present owner bought the property in 2006 without being given any notice of the billboard rental agreement, the lawsuit alleges.

The rates Clear Channel charges advertisers vary by location and the demographic of the intended audience, but rates published on the company’s website for billboards the size of the one in dispute aimed for a Hispanic audience work out to approximately $20,000 per year.

Dennis Hathaway

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