“Ask Kari” is a monthly, Question & Answer feature from Kari Negri. Kari has two decades of property management experience, is a featured speaker at many industry trade shows, such as AAGLA’s annual trade show, and is the CEO of SKY Properties, Inc. in Los Angeles.
Bill from Los Angeles asks, “Hi Kari, what do you advise about Satellite dishes being placed on buildings?”
Satellite Dishes at Your Building
Hi, Bill. Great question. Have you ever driven by a building that is just littered with satellite dishes? It can look atrocious and neither helps the building’s aesthetic, curb appeal, nor marketability. As a matter of customer service and curb appeal, it is important to provide tenants with options when it comes to satellite providers. Some customers prefer cable, others satellite. Often new tenants will move in expecting access to the same service they are used to, so providing options for satellite and cable service will assist in creating a positive customer experience from the start.
It’s also best to let tenants know their options prior to move in so it’s not a contentious scenario afterwards. When considering how to handle satellite dishes at your building, here are some tips and options, which might be helpful.
- Federal Law Prevents Across-the-Board Restrictions Against Satellite Dishes
It’s very important to read the FCC laws regarding satellite dish regulations at apartment buildings. You can Google the FCC site, but the regulations are available directly here: http://www.fcc.gov/guides/over-air-reception-devices-rule
Essentially, if a tenant has an area that is exclusive to them (“exclusive use area” – not common areas), they have a federal right to place a satellite dish in that area. “Renters are not required to obtain the consent of the landlord prior to installing an antenna in these areas.” This does not give a tenant the right to damage railings or walls to install a dish, nor can the dish protrude or hang over any common area beyond the edge of their exclusive area, but understand they do not need permission to place a dish in their exclusive use area.
- Consider a Community Dish
The FCC law DOES allow for certain restrictions when a community dish is available for satellite service: “Generally, the availability of a central antenna may allow the association, landlord, property owner, or other management entity to restrict the installation by individuals of antennas otherwise protected by the rule.” So you might consider contacting your satellite dish provider and asking about a community dish. Know that some satellite companies have a minimum number of units requirement before they will install a community dish. Also know that the company may compensate the owner per door to install a community dish if there are enough units.
- Consider What Satellite Options to Encourage
As mentioned, providing options for tenants to get the services they desire is great customer service. Consider distributing what options for satellite dish vendors are available to your tenants. Maybe, “Hey, we have a community dish! Here’s how you can get service!” If you have an area where you can install a group of individual dishes, you will have better control over how the dishes are installed and routed to individual units.
- Minimize Damage with Installation Protocols
Consider what proper installation of satellite dishes at your building looks like and generate protocols for installation. The FCC regulations do allow you to control/allow installation in common areas. If you allow installation at common areas, roof, protruding outside patios, etc., make certain installers know what and what not to do. Do you run external wires or internal? Have you designated in and out points for cables going through exterior walls?
Because installers are often 3rd party workers, not directly controlled sub-contractors, you might experience a wide variety in quality of work, so it’s best to establish protocols and communicate them. If you allow dishes on the roof, make sure you or your on-site manager is present during the install. On many newly replaced roofs, the roof warranty is VOIDED if the roof is pierced or drilled through in any way. Control the install, the location and the method of the install.
- Educate Tenants About What is Available
Make certain your dish protocols are included in your lease agreements. Distribute a letter to tenants that lists their FCC rights, options for satellite dishes, and installation restrictions. Consider posting a sign on or near your roof informing installers of restrictions regarding satellite dish installations, their liability if they negligently void your roof warranty, procedures and contact information for guidance.
As always, please remember, I am not an attorney. Seek clarification through your attorney. All articles are simply an opinion. Stay in touch at www.GetSky.net
Do you need professional property management from Kari Negri and SKY Properties, Inc.? visit our contact page to get started.