Can I Install a Direct TV Satellite Dish in My Apartment?

How can I convince my landlord to let me install a small satellite dish on my apartment balcony?

Question

How can I convince my landlord to let me install a small satellite dish on my apartment balcony?

Answer

Some landlords are resistant to having satellite dishes installed on a rental unit. Your landlord may be concerned that the satellite dish will detract from the aesthetics of the property. Or, your landlord could be concerned that the installation of the satellite dish will damage the rental unit.

Fortunately, the law is on your side in this situation.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prohibits landlords from imposing restrictions that unreasonably impair your ability to install, maintain, or use a satellite dish that meets specified criteria:

  • The direct-to-home satellite dish must be less than one meter (39.37 inches) in diameter (or any size in Alaska).
  • Tenants may place dishes only in their own, exclusive rented space, such as on a balcony or deck. The device must be wholly within the rented space. (It cannot overhang the balcony, for example.) Also, landlords may prohibit you from drilling through exterior walls, even if that wall is also part of your rented space.
  • Landlords may restrict how the satellite dish is installed, as long as the restrictions are not unreasonably expensive or are imposed for safety reasons or to preserve historic aspects of the structure.

For complete details on the FCC’s rule on satellite dishes, see www.fcc.gov/guides/installing-consumer-owned-antennas-and-satellite-dishes, or call the FCC at 888-CALL-FCC.

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