no matter who TA's landlord is, TA must pay the lease payments. The question then are the leases fair-market-value? I spoke with TA a while back and was told they had comps done by real estate consulting companies to ensure the leases were competitive within the market. And with the shareholder lawsuit from several years ago initiated by Mr. Kahn, everything was looked at during that legal process. I of course would like cheaper rents for TA so they make more $. But TA is running down the right road by purchasing multiple sites directly now. So TA will end up very soon with about 20 wholly owned travel center sites with ZERO rent. No mortgages, no liens, nothing. So I try to look where TA is going, not where TA is or has been. We have good input on this board and I learn a lot...thanks to all of you have have participated for so long.
If you want to look at the rent, I would look at the return HPT is getting on the TA properties and the timing of HPT's purchase of TA.
If HPT bought TA near the top of the market (i.e. 2004 - 2007) and is still earning a good return, then chances are that the rent is above FMV.
The TA people would never tell you that the leases are too high...1/2 of them are employed by HPT or RMR anyways! I used to work in consulting....you can make the numbers say whatever you want. I'm sure the shareholder's consultants said X was a fair rent, and HPT's consultants said 2X was a fair rent....and I'm sure both reports were very convincing and had all kinds of data to back up the conclusion.
I don't own HPT and only trade TA, so I have no idea what that type of analysis would show....I don't even know IF HPT bought TA in the mid-2000s.