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. According to FCC Order 98-273, Over-the-Air-Reception Devices (OTARDs) such as satellite dishes, are legal to install so long as it reaches certain regulations, such as size limitations. As a property manager, however, you’re entitled to create reasonable restrictions regarding satellite dish installation.

Oftentimes, the best defense is to consider the amount of damage the installation of these devices can do to your property. Satellite service providers such as DISH or DirecTV oftentimes care little for the structural integrity of your property during installation by a “professional.”

Some of these damages include:

  • Drilling holes without regard to established weatherproofing systems, creating leaks during rain/snow or damage to plumbing or HVAC systems.
  • Drilling NEW holes for wiring and not adapting or using old wiring routes even for previous DISH/DirecTV systems.
  • Chances for the dish to become dislodged due to improper installation or time/weather effects, creating hazards for tenants or pedestrians.
  • The dish and it’s exposed wiring can be unsightly
  • Even worse, installed dishes can cause problems and disputes when a tenant decides to move out. The burden of cost and removal can be argued between the tenant and property manager if the issue of responsibility is not established on the lease. Leftover devices not removed by old tenants also cause potential problems for newer tenants who may accidentally find themselves charged with the removal of a leftover dish.

The best way to mitigate these problems is not only to fully flesh-out the building’s policies regarding these devices on the lease, but to also provide alternative ways for a tenant to receive the content that made them consider installation of a satellite dish in the first place. We currently 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, so recommending a great internet service provider or providing one as part of an ancillary service agreement for a fee on the lease can help satisfy those needs. For those that still prefer television, ancillary service agreements with a digital cable provider can help as well, and 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.