Local News

New FCC Law Allows Apartment Renters To Have Satellite Dishes

Posted January 24, 1999

— If you rent a house or an apartment and like to watch television, scoot closer to the set. A new law allows renters to have satellite dishes despite the previous rules from landlords or management companies.

Many renters have leases that specifically restrict satellites on their property. But last Friday, that all changed. Satellites are no longer banned just because you do not own your home.

For years, apartment renters have been restricted from getting every channel they want.

Many management rules prohibited satellite dishes on the premises, but some tenants found a creative ways around the rules.

"I actually had to take mine and put it on a pole and mount it down on the ground and plant some bushes around it so you wouldn't even see it," said satellite owner Chad Hollander.

Now, Hollander no longer has to go undercover, thanks to a new FCC law.

Despite landlords' concerns that the dishes were unsightly and damaged structures, renters can now openly display their satellites, overriding their landlord's previous restrictions.

"Quite frankly, it's what the customer wants. Our customers are more demanding now. They require a number of amenities. Fitness centers, business centers, washer and dryer connections, and satellite hookups are just another amenity they're requiring from us," said Matthew Smith of the Triangle Apartment Association.

But the rules do have boundaries.

Balconies, patios and yards fall within the guidelines. Outside walls and roofs do not. And no holes can be drilled to help you tune in better.

Officials say the law is meant to promote consumer choice. Hollander says his only choice before was to hide.

"It's great, it's great for me. I'm glad that I don't have to run wires and hide it and worry about it and all," said Hollander.

Not all renters will be able to take full advantage of the new law. WRAL was told a balcony has to face south in order to receive a signal.

And the new law is not making everyone happy. TheNational Apartment Associationand a few other housing groups are trying to overturn the ruling.

The law does not apply to condo owners or homeowners whose subdivisions have satellite rules.

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