Please note that this section is not meant to serve as legal guidance.
There is a landman at my door!
What should I do when a Landman comes knocking?
- Don't sign anything on the first visit!
It's possible that if you refuse to sign a lease the landman will tell you that he or she is just going to go to a neighbor, and you will get nothing. Even so, don't be bullied.
- Keep notes/records of every meeting.
If you're going to record your meeting, you should make sure that the landman knows you are recording (get his or her acknowledgement or agreement on tape).
- Have witnesses present.
It is possible that a landman may be less likely to use threats or intimidation or make misleading statements if there are others present in the room.
- Get promises in writing.
It is not useful to simply have a landman's "word" or promise that something will be added to your lease. Get every promise put down in writing. And ask that the landman return with a new typed copy of the lease that includes all of his or her promises.
What should I do after the Landman Leaves?
- Educate yourselves. There's a steep learning curve, and you're definitely at a disadvantage in negotiating a lease, because landmen understand the industry, the going rates for leases, etc. There are many resources available to help you get a handle on what it means to lease your minerals, and what steps you might want to take if you decide to lease.
- Understand what you are signing. Oil, gas or mineral leases are legal and binding documents-they are contracts. And they are likely to affect you for years or even decades to come. Once you sign a lease, there's really no way you can get out of it until it expires, unless you can prove fraud on the part of the gas company. So read over the proposed lease very carefully. Consider getting the proposed lease reviewed by a lawyer before you sign it.
- Talk to your neighbors. See if they have been visited by the same landman or o different one. Compare notes on what is being offered. Consider joining together with neighboring landowners to share the cost of consulting with an attorney. This way, you are working with your neighbors, instead of allowing landmen to play neighbors off of one another.
- Think about what you want in your lease. The landman will likely present you with a "standard" oil and gas industry lease. Be aware there is nothing required, binding or necessarily specific to your case in this “standard” document. It is a starting place suitable to the industry, that may not be suitable to you. It is just a starting point, and everything is open for negotiation. You can scratch things out, change wording, and add in provisions that you want in your lease.
- Consider shopping around for other offers. You don't have to work with the first landman that comes to your door. You can contact other landmen operating in the area, and make them compete for the right to explore and drill your minerals.