Let’s (NOT) Dish

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Let’s (NOT) Dish

Satellite dishes and your apartment building

One of the challenges of a property manager comes from tenants wishing to subscribe to a satellite dish service provider. FCC Order 98-273 states Over-the-Air-Reception Devices (OTARDs) such as satellite dishes, are legal to install so long as it follows certain rules such as size limits. As an owner, you are allowed to create fair rules in regards to dish installation.

Often the best defense is to look at the amount of damage the installation can do to your property. DISH, DirecTV or other service providers most of the time care little for the structural integrity of your property during installation.

Some of these damages include:

  • Drilling holes without regard to weatherproofing systems, forming leaks during rain/snow or damage to plumbing or HVAC systems.
  • Drilling NEW holes for wires or using old wiring routes even for past DISH/DirecTV systems.
  • Chances for the dish to become dislodged due to poor installation or time/weather effects, creating hazards for tenants or walkers.
  • The dish and the exposed wiring can look drab.
  • Even worse, installed dishes can cause problems and disputes when a tenant decides to move out. If the lease does not state it, the owner and tenant can argue over who is responsible for cost and removal. Devices left by past tenants may cause problems for new tenants who may be charged to remove the dish.

The best way to reduce these problems is not only to fully flesh-out the building’s policies in regards to these devices on the lease, but to also provide other ways for a tenant to receive the content that made them want to install a satellite dish in the first place. We live in an era where many streaming devices and on-demand platforms such as Netflix and Hulu have taken over the forefront of entertainment needs. Recommending a service provider or providing one can help meet those needs. For those that still prefer TV, ancillary service agreements with a digital cable provider can help as well. Many companies such as AT&T and Time Warner offer packages that include internet that may help deter the need for satellite dishes. Overall, find ways to give value to your tenants and avoid dishing out pain for you and your property’s roof.


Ramil Doronio is a content marketer by day and creative writer by night. His love of real estate and property management far exceeds his need for sleep. You can find him furiously typing on his laptop in between trips to In-N-Out.