Your Renter’s Right To Install An Antenna

When your tenants move in, they may ask about installing a dish antenna. Do tenants have rights when it comes to installing an antenna on the property?

Yes, your tenants have certain rights when it comes to antenna installation under the Over-the-Air-Reception Devices rules.

According to these rules, your tenants are entitled to install certain antennas on your rental property. Find out what these rules cover and what you need to know below.

What Kinds of Antennas Are Covered?

The following antennas or dishes are covered by these rules:

  • A “dish” antenna one meter (39.37 inches) or less in diameter (or any size dish if located in Alaska), designed to receive direct broadcast satellite service, including direct-to-home satellite service, or to receive or transmit fixed wireless signals via satellite.
  • An antenna that is one meter or less in diameter and is designed to receive video programming services via broadband radio service (wireless cable), or to receive or transmit fixed wireless signals other than via satellite.
  • An antenna that is designed to receive local television broadcast signals.

Antennas used for AM/FM radio, amateur (“ham”) radio, CB radio, Digital Audio Radio Services (“DARS”) or antennas used as part of a hub to relay signals among multiple locations are not covered by these rules.

What Kind of Properties Are Covered?

Under the OTARD rules, a tenant has the right to install an antenna on the property over which he has exclusive use or control. This includes single family homes, condos, co-ops, townhouses, and manufactured homes. For condos, coops, and rental properties, the rules apply to “exclusive use” areas, like terraces, balconies, and patios. “Exclusive use” refers to an area that only the renter and renter’s guests may enter and use. If the area is shared with others or accessible without the renter’s permission, it is not considered to be an exclusive use area.

OTARD rules do not apply to common areas that are owned by a landlord. These common areas can include the roof or exterior walls of multiple dwelling units.

Under certain conditions, if a common antenna is available for use by residents, then the community association or landlord may prohibit the installation of an individually-owned antenna or satellite dish, provided the signal quality from the central antenna is as good as the signal quality from an individually-owned antenna or dish, and the costs of using the central antenna are no greater than the costs of an individually-owned antenna or dish.

Rules about Restrictions

Prohibited: Restrictions that prevent or delay installation, maintenance or use of antennas covered by the rule. For example, in most cases, requirements to get approval before installing an antenna are prohibited.
Permitted: Restrictions necessary to prevent damage to leased property are permissible, as long as the restrictions are reasonable. For example, a lease restriction that forbids tenants from damaging the balcony floor when installing an antenna.
Permitted: An association, landlord or local government may impose certain restrictions for safety reasons. An example would be requiring that an antenna is securely fastened so that it won’t be blown loose by the wind.

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