Defying your landlord with a satellite dish

I recently moved out of a building where I had Dish Network supplying my TV. My dish was installed on the roof (the landlord allowed this, and in fact encouraged it).

The apartment complex where I’m living now doesn’t allow satellite dishes at all, and requires all new tenants to sign an agreement to that effect. I didn’t think this was any big deal.

When I called Dish to cancel my service at my old place, the woman who took my call asked me why I was canceling. I explained that my new landlord didn’t allow dish antennas, and she immediately said, “That’s illegal.” She offered to send me a “kit” with all the information I would need to challenge my landlord’s no-dish rule. I wasn’t that crazy about Dish Network to begin with, and I sure didn’t think it was worth starting a fight with my landlord right after moving in, so I told her, “nah, forget it.” She continued to press me on that point for a bit longer, asking “Do you have a balcony? Does it face south?” but finally dropped it.

Later I did a little googling and found that Dish’s representative was, apparently, correct. If your apartment includes a balcony or patio that is exclusively for your use, then you can put a dish out there, according to the FCC.

Have any of you successfully challenged a no-dish rule? I have no plans to pursue this myself, but I’m wondering how this goes. Based on my experience with landlords, I can easily envision passive-aggressive retaliation, like responding slowly (or not at all) to maintenance requests.

Prb-1 is the FCC document. It also covers Ham radio antennas in some cases. I’m not a lawyer and I’m not your lawyer if I were one, but I’d tell the landlord his restrictions are illegal and have dish or direct TV installed. If he gives you any trouble tell him to sue you. :slight_smile:

I used PRB-1 data to support my 70’ radio tower permit application 10 years ago.

What about an ornamental balcony, little more than a railing and six inches of ledge. I could easily clip a dish onto the railing…

(Hypothetical; I like my landlord far too much to offer any hassle whatever.)

make the dish into a decorative element.

Since this is a hardware question, moved to IMHO (from Cafe Society).

If it doesn’t have a Southerly orientation, it won’t do you much good.

Use a tall stick to clear the roof line. :cool:

If next to a really tall building, get a bigger stick or just move. :smiley:

Years ago, I lived in an apartment building that didn’t allow antennae to be attached to the building or to balcony railings. Just as well, given how wobbly the railing was.

I side-stepped the whole issue with a decorative plastic flower pot, two sacks of concrete and a chain link fence post. Just be sure the post is perfectly plumb as it sits in its intended location or you’ll never be able to aim the dish properly.

Did your landlord give his/her reasoning behind the prohibition? If so, then you might want to avoid picking a fight over something which may not be worth it. While I’m not a fan of cable, it does have a number of advantages over DISH or DirecTV (never had snow knock out my cable for example).

I would think that if the landlord is preventing you from receiving an additional service, then they would be offer something else (like free basic cable or a reduction in your cable rates) to offset this restriction. If they do not, then unless you are wedded to that particular apartment, maybe a brief stay in residence will be all that’s necessary

I didn’t ask why the dishes were prohibited, but I suspect that it’s merely an aesthetic issue. They do seem very concerned with maintaining the appearance of the complex and the landscaping is very elaborate.

Actually, I have long since made the decision that it’s not worth fighting over. The only reason I subscribed to Dish at my previous residence is that they offered a channel that wasn’t available on DirectTV or cable. Well, that channel is now defunct and isn’t available anywhere, so my sole reason for being a Dish subscriber is gone. I have Comcast now, which I’m not crazy about either, but at least I don’t see those happy words “Complete Loss of Signal” during storms.

My original post seems to have been somewhat misunderstood. I wasn’t asking for advice on how to hide a satellite dish. I simply wanted to know if any Dopers have successfully challenged a no-dish rule by citing the FCC’s regulations. Looks like the answer to that is “no.”

As a landlord, I don’t allow my tenants to have satellite dishes for two reasons: one, they look totally ghetto, and two, the dish installers don’t give a shit what damage they do to the building (and they don’t take the dish off when the person moves out, either). Now, legally, I know my tenants have the right to have a dish, but they generally don’t know that. Would I attempt to kick out a tenant who got a dish in violation of the lease? Probably not. In Massachusetts, it’s not so easy to oust a tenant for a reason like that. But hey, maybe I’d hack the dish off the building and toss it.

Interesting answer, Sal. I hadn’t considered the damage issue. Thanks!

It’s not legal to prohibit a satellite dish, but is it legal for a landlord to prohibit physically attaching a dish to the building or balcony, for the damage reason mentioned? A tenant could still be allowed to have a free-standing dish, like gotpasswords.

I associate the dish with being ghetto. I started to see things this way after living in various ghettos and also various non-ghettos over the years. The ghettos had many more dishes; so much so that if I go to an apartment complex and see a bunch of satellite dishes in will have a significant impact upon my first impression of the area.

True you may be in your legal rights to put one up, but your landlord is also in his legal rights to raise the rent the maximum amount every year or take the maximum amount of time to do repairs etc.

I’m a landlord and a like satellite TV.
Were I concerned about damage, I would include in the contract that repairs needed would be subtracted from my tenant’s deposit.

there are means of passing a cable through windows without causing damage or altering the building.

Of course, but it depends upon the installer. The only faults in installs I have seen were when I did it myself.
I do think that making any possible repairs the responsibility of the deposit would be fair, though.