P.W. from New Haven County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
What is the rule if the condo wants to disallow satellite dishes?
Mister Condo replies:
P.W., satellite dishes can be quite the eyesore depending on where they are installed and how they are maintained. Additionally, since condo unit owners need to attach them to building exteriors or roofs, they add the extra burden of maintenance and potential damage to common elements owned by the association. It is no wonder so many condo units have lots of rules in place to prevent unit owners from simply installing a dish and altering a building’s outer appearance.
That being said, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has said that unit owners have the right to install a dish in any area that they have exclusive use of control. You can read more about what the FCC has to say about it at their website – http://www.fcc.gov/guides/installing-consumer-owned-antennas-and-satellite-dishes. For most condominiums, there isn’t a lot of area exterior to the unit under the individual unit owner’s control. Perhaps a deck, patio, or balcony might be considered an area for their exclusive use. What most associations have done is require a unit owner to give notice that they are installing a dish antenna and to provide a set of maintenance guidelines that the dish owner must follow or be subject to removal of dish and/or fines by the association.
What many unit owners have done is petition their board to allow an installation on common property but with an agreement from the installing unit that they will maintain the dish, pay for any damage arising from the dish installation, and agree to remove the dish if the service is discontinued. Also, there are some condominiums that will actually have a single larger dish that provides service to multiple residents. You need to work with the satellite TV provider to see if that option is available.
The bottom line is that there are lots of ways to receive broadcast signals these days. The FCC does all it can to make sure you have a choice in the matter. Condominiums do not have to allow individual satellite antenna installations on common elements but they cannot prevent you from installing a dish on any part of the property that you have exclusive use of control. Forward thinking associations find ways to work with their unit owners so that the property is protected and the unit owner still has freedom of choice. All the best!