apartment, landlord, property management, real estate

Satellite Dishes

Question: I ordered satellite service for my apartment, but the landlord refused to let me have the dish installed. How can I persuade him to change his mind?

Answer: The Federal Communications Commission has done the work for you, enacting a detailed set of rules and regulations in 1996 that on many levels prohibit a property owner from restricting a tenant’s right to satellite service. Unfortunately, many people are in the dark about the FCC’s elaborate guidelines. If it’s a dish or antenna you desire, it’s worth researching.

OTARD guidelines are complete but complex.  Here are some points:  The rules define a “dish” antenna as being 1 meter (39.37 inches) or less in diameter (or any size dish if it’s in Alaska).

The satellite dish can be installed almost anywhere within the rented space. Balconies are a popular hangout for satellite dishes, but the landlord can refuse to allow the dish to hang off the balcony in any manner. They can also restrict you from drilling into the exterior walls, or into any common-area location, including the roof.

Unfortunately the location of the dish can make or break a signal. Because sky satellites are only in the Southern Hemisphere, most individual dishes must have southern exposure, which in some cases can be a problem.

Because the OTARD rule prohibits restrictions that can impair a person’s ability to install, maintain or use an antenna, can the landlord actually disallow the dish on the roof? According to the OTARD guidelines, yes.

The property owner does not have to allow the dish in or on common-area locations.

Genuine safety concerns for the tenants or the rental property can also restrict some of the satellite installation sites, such as in narrow hallways or fire-escape routes. Concerns have to be legitimate and apply to all installations.

The installation rules must be provided in written form to the tenant, so the consumer wanting the service understands which safety restrictions apply and why.

Because OTARD is a federal law, it overrides any local or state laws, including the requirement to obtain a permit before the dish is installed.

Questions: FCC toll free at (888) 225-5322. The satellite company provider may also provide some assistance.





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