Everyone But Me Gets To Watch TV, A DISH Install Horror Story

“July 25 – So, I recently moved and have had one hell of a time with DISH Network. Apparently my new apartment building has an “exclusive contract” with ATT. So I call up those guys to get some TV in my new apt. ATT tells me to call DISH directly (their partner) and I oblige because ATT doesn’t deal with apartment complexes. I get on the phone to DISH with a guy (I think his name was Sam) who happily placed my order, until he asked me what floor I live on and I told him third. Sam proceeded to tell me that because of insurance reasons their DISH installers will not install on third floor or higher. I was a little baffled by this and Sam told me to goto a DISH reseller, like Radio Shack.

So I, still shocked, goto Radio Shack and they tell me they don’t do installs and gave me the card of some scummy a/v installer. So I go to sleep and decide to deal with it later.

The following day I received an extremely helpful call from Duke, who is a DISH guy at the Austin service center who basically told me that Sam was full of shit and DISH installers can do floors above the second…”

…Terrific, right? Well, kind of. I got everything setup with Duke (damn, that is an awesome name) to only have him tell me that the earliest time to get it installed is August 10. Are you freaking kidding me? I have to wait two and a half weeks to get television besides ABC, which is the only channel I receive over the air.

I accepted the August 10 date because well, there are no other options, but I’m still pissy that I had to jump through a bunch of hoops to get this worked out.

August 14

I was told to be home from 12-5 on the install day, this past Friday, and the DISH guy showed at 6:30 (of course) to tell me that he wouldn’t do it because of the trees outside of my balcony (even though there are some clear shots of the sky around the trees. And DISH charged me all of the installation fees, even though it didn’t get done (they supposedly will be refunded within 5-10 business days).

At that point I called my landlord who told me that the coax lines in the apt are functional and to call AT&T back. She also gave me the option to move out (even though I just moved in a few weeks ago).

I call AT&T and am told that their digital cable package, U-Verse, isn’t offered for my complex. Call the landlord back, who yet again doesn’t know a damn thing about the cable system she manages and she continued to hint that I could move out.

I finally found the right division, which is “AT&T Home Entertainment”, who apparently has giant DirecTV dishes on the roof of the complex that feeds the coax lines through all of the apartments. ( http://www.attheonline.com)

The website said that they offer an “analog programming package” with no satellite set-top box required. So I go buy a TiVo over the weekend so I can get that ready for the basic analog package. Then I call AT&T HE yesterday to place the order and I find out that that package is no longer available and I HAVE to get a programming package with a satellite set-top box, therefore deeming my new TiVo worthless.

Also what pissed me off is the fact that they don’t have an HD DVR box for this ghetto DirecTV setup. You can either get an HD box, a DVR box, or both (but no HD recording), or none. So the AT&T HE guy is installing everything today, and I’ll have to take back the TiVo this week (which is a heart breaker, I’ve become a TiVo junkie just over the weekend of watching over-the-air programming).

It’s still just ghetto how this entire building partnership works. Why can’t the damn coax lines work with Time Warner or Comcast like the rest of this giant ass city. I’m not too fond of all of these satellite shenanigans. It just makes me wonder how much AT&T is paying Post Properties (which has buildings in multiple states) to exclusively have AT&T, even though their properties are surrounded in trees.

I would consider moving if I hadn’t already moved twice within the past 2 months. I guess I never knew how good I had it with Cox back in Kansas.

– Travis H.
Dallas, Texas

Wow Travis, that really sucks. Here’s an idea: dump all the equipment and get everything refunded, buy a Slingbox, and convince/pay a friend with cable to let you hook it up to his system. His customer service can’t be any worse than what you’ve already experienced and if you fall behind on your bills you can make it up in beers.

(Photo: Leila Carioca)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Buran says:

    TiVo works fine with digital as long as you use an IR Blaster or use a CableCard compatible TiVo.

  2. Fry says:

    Complaint: People should not use the word “ghetto” in complaints. Unless they live in a “ghetto”.

    Props: So THAT is what those Slingbox things are for. I couldn’t really see a use for them until you pointed that out, Ben. Awesome idea!

  3. Killfile says:

    Having worked as a DISH Network for more than a year I can shed some light on this.

    1 – I’m completely unaware of any insurance regs that would prevent a 3rd story install. Now that said, in many cases a rental will tell you that you can’t punch holes in their building to have a dish – so if you don’t have a balcony you’re out of luck.

    2 – DISH is strange in its corporate structure. It has a customer service division and an installation division and they’re not the same thing — in fact they hate each other. As such, you frequently can’t trust the guy on the phone to know what he’s talking about with respect to the install.

    3 – DISH’s satellites often don’t like trees. Now that said, if the installer can get a signal in the summer you’re going to be ok year round. If you tried to do this in December I’d say the tech did the right thing. Otherwise he needs to at least try — a lot of the time you can get decent signal. Now that said – the dish is pointed as a spot in the sky about the size of a quarter held at arm’s length, so hitting that specific target is important.

    4 – Because of the way install commissions work, you’re likely to get more accommodation from a third-party install than you’ll get by calling DISH network directly. That said, you’ll also have to deal with that installer for your repairs/equipment for quite some time and they’re done getting paid for your install, so you can usually count on less motivated service there.

    Best of luck next time though! It sounds like you had a bad experience with DISH. I worked there long enough to know there are some really bad installers out there. There are also some really good ones though. It’s pretty hit or miss right now. The sad fact of the matter is that this is not unique to DISH. Welcome to the American pay-TV industry.

  4. philbert says:

    My boss struggled with DishTV for almost three months over a dish on the roof of his two story house. They took the order – came out but said it was too high to install the dish. He called back and asked for a supervisor who came out and said it was not too high. The supervisor arranged another installation – another installer came out and again said it was too high. This happened three times before someone finally installed the dish.

  5. HeyThereKiller says:


    Also, watching MLB playoff games when you have to go to Germany on a business trip for most of the duration of the postseason

  6. OnceWasCool says:

    Dish does need to work on their customer service. We have been a long time Dish Network customer because Charter Cable is major poop in my area.

    Well, as luck would have it, we bought a new HD TV. YEAH..
    Then, we discovered our PVR (old system, like DVR) receiver needed to be upgraded.
    Well, a very nice customer service lady at D.N. was very helpful in getting us our HD DVR upgrade with 100 bucks to be credited back later. Turns out, she screwed it up and we only get the standard HD system installed.
    Called DN customer service and talked to Satan’s little sister who blamed my wife for letting them install the wrong unit. (I agree, my wife’s x-ray vision should have caught that)
    Anyway… Satan’s little sister (who shouldn’t ever be talking to customers) charged us 150 bucks for the upgrade to the HD DVR.

    Well, we LOVE the HD DVR system, except for the second tv option don’t work, everything is great.
    Ended up not needing the the second TV option anyway.

    They sent us THREE boxes to send back our TWO receivers. The old one plus the HD standard.

    One month later we have to call them with the tracking numbers to get credit.

    I still have the stupid other empty box…

  7. Echodork says:

    I worked tech support for DISH for around two years before finally throwing in the towel. My screen name is a play on Echostar, DISH’s parent company.

    First, apartment complexes are well within their rights to sell “exclusive service agreements” to local mom&pop cable outlets. In fact, that’s how these tiny, half-assed cable resellers make money, they pay a token fee for exclusive rights to an apartment complex. And because you’re locked into a monopoly, their service and channel selection almost universally sucks. Satellite is your alternative, unless your apartment complex is particuarly insidious and they deny your request to mount a dish to drive you toward their preferred cable provider.

    Second, you can absolutely mount a dish higher than the third story. To say otherwise is just silly.

    Finally, your troubles are just getting started. DISH is a racket. Not only do the inbound tech support staffers not have access to the dispatching database, half the time we weren’t even allowed to call the install team to help you out. We were supposed to put your appointment in our little computer system, tell you the tech would be there, and then reschedule if anything went wrong. I can’t imagine things have changed much, for the positive at least.

  8. not_seth_brundle says:

    @Killfile: @Echodork: Do you have any tips for getting out of my DISH contract without paying an ETF? I moved into a new building that doesn’t allow satellite dishes.

  9. acambras says:

    I moved in April and tried to get Dish, but because of signal problems and my apt. complex’s restrictions, it was a no-go. Like the OP, I’d been required to pay the install fee in advance (directly to Dish). When I wasn’t able to get service installed, I was skeptical about that install refund happening (I was prepared to do a chargeback if it didn’t), but within a few weeks I did get the refund — ironically through a credit on my AT&T bill. Weird.

  10. faust1200 says:

    Yes it is lamer than lame that companies can have exclusive contracts with properties, etc. to sell their product. The property management company I work for has a deal with Comcast so our tenants HAVE to use Comcast or pick a dish (if they have reception.) If I had it my way this practice would be outlawed. It is totally anti-competition.

  11. cornish says:

    Step 1: Formulate an intelligent complaint that does not use the word “ghetto”.
    Step 2: ???
    Step 3: People listen to complaint and help you resolve your problems.

  12. roche says:

    @not_seth_brundle: I would read this if I were you. It is against the law for an apartment to deny you the ability to install a dish that is under one meter diameter.


  13. kjherron says:

    @not_seth_brundle: You may wish to check The FCC’s rules on satellite dishes. Landlords, homeowners’ associations, and the like have very limited ability to prohibit small satellite dishes.

  14. sly100100 says:

    My brother recently had to have his directv dvr replaced and they kept sending him a new (factory refurbished) but they didn’t work. By the 4th one he called directv to complain some more. He got a woman on the phone who was absolutely no help. So he asked for a supervisor.
    The woman told him if she would give him a “special deal” NOT to speak to a supervisor! So he asked what the deal was and all she offered was $5 off his bill for six month or free hbo or showtime for 6 months!
    He opted for the supervisor.
    He told the supervisor about it but they didn’t do anything that he knows of.

    Now don’t get me wrong I have never really had any huge problems with directv and I really like the service but some how offering a “special” deal not to speak to a supervisor just seems really wrong.

  15. rbb says:

    Not a very smart move to buy the TiVos before actually getting the cable hooked up, given all the wrong stories you got from the dish network and ATT.

    Did you ever try to knock on your neighbors’ doors and ask them what they did to get cable? Probably would have saved you a lot of hassles…

  16. not_seth_brundle says:

    @roche: @kjherron: Hmm, according to those rules, unless I’m missing something (which is more than possible), I wouldn’t be covered because I don’t have an “exclusive use” area outside my condo. In truth, though, I’d rather fight Dish than the condo association.

  17. Durvivor says:

    The term for your situation is “MDU” (Multiple Dwelling Unit). I live in a similar situation.

    There are many frustrating things about this MDU situation we are in, most frustrating is my inability to obtain satellite broadcast HD. However, one advantage is that DirecTV can not put me under contract when I add / remove / change equipment. Something to do with the fact they consider me “Qwests” customer, not theirs.

    I’ve used this to my advantage, purchasing an HD PVR from Best Buy that I use to obtain my locals in HD OTA. When I added this box to my account, I had no contract. Maybe you can do the same. YMMV.

  18. Toast442 says:

    Had a similar experience with DirecTV when they came to install. Acutally, they were really replacing the previous home owner’s hw, already installed on the roof.

    The guy showed up two hours late, and basically didn’t want to do the install, giving one excuse after another: That tree is in the way! That tree is too close to the house – a branch could fall on me! Your one story house roof is too tall and my insurance won’t allow me to install! All BS – he just wanted to go home. He finally broke down and said he’d come back the next day (necessitating a day off work for me.) I had to threaten to call his supervisor if he didn’t get the work done.

    The dumb thing was he didn’t even have to do anything – just slap a new dish on the existing mast and aim the thing. All the wiring was in place. He then brought our TV boxes in the house, went back to his truck and left without even saying he was leaving. I had to call DirecTV to figure out how to activate the set top boxes.

    They even had to mail me an “Installation Completed” signature form because the ass didn’t even get my signature before leaving.

    But at least it got done.

  19. kcrusher says:

    Uh, have you ever considered just not watching TV? I see what’s on every now and then and it just seems like mindless blather. I know when I die I don’t want to be thinking ‘damn, i watched a LOT of tv!’…

  20. JayXJ says:

    Feel your pain. We just bought a new house about 25 miles out from the city. We’ve been jumping through flaming hoops for two weeks trying to get our DISH contract transferred. Most of the problems have stemmed from the local “Billy-Bob and his cousins” satellite installer. We’ve had 3 different techs out to our house and gotten three wildy different estimates to get the dish working.

  21. Aut0mat1c says:

    Oh come on people, get your heads out of your PC asses. Words only have the power you give to them.

  22. cornish says:

    @Aut0mat1c: It has nothing to do with PC and everything to do with not sounding like a ‘tard.

  23. acambras says:


    My complex doesn’t prohibit dishes, but they do prohibit attaching a dish to the building, patio railing etc. The only people at my complex who have dishes have them set up on elaborate freestanding easel-thingys on their decks. My deck didn’t face the right way, and Dish would have had to sink a hole in concrete several feet out from the building (which of course the complex won’t allow).

  24. Dovi says:

    I have to say that I have had nothing but good experiences with Dish after ordering a year ago.

    Last August, I found a 52″ HDTV on craigslist for (comparative) pocket change. After comparing plans, I went with DirecTV (Comcast? No thank you). The DirectTV installer shows up a week later, walks around the house, and tells me I won’t be able to get satellite connection. Well, I had already checked DirecTV’s azimuth lists, so I knew the elevations would be close but workable. I tell him this and he just shrugs and tells me I’m wrong. I had been watching him, and he hadn’t even used any equipment to see if he could get a satellite signal. Off he goes, and on the phone I go…with Dish.

    After explaining the situation to the cs rep and one of their tech guys (both of whom were *very* helpful and patient), I signed up and scheduled an installation. On the appointed day, *two* Dish vans pull up (five minutes early), they agree that it will be tight, but that they’ll give it a shot. An hour and a half later, they had set up two dishes, one on the roof and one by the drive. Didn’t work. So they installed a second roof mount, moved the roof dish over to it, and everything work perfectly. Not a problem since.

    So to make a long story monotonous, ymmv. Now if I could just get local HDs and SEC football here in Baltimore, I’d be in seventh heaven.

  25. bohemian says:

    Many of the larger complexes around here give you free broadband and free basic cable as part of your rent. The local provider is a lesser evil than Comcast or Charter and the responsibility to keep it working is the ISP and landlord. Not a bad deal and it keeps the building from looking like dish city.

  26. KIRZEN2007 says:

    Is there no option for a TIVO to take a component input?

    (A confused CSR who works with TVs, but has honestly never seen a TIVO)

  27. Lordstrom says:

    Guys, I know this is a radical idea, but I would consider not having ANY television service. It’s just not worth it anymore. I’m on the brink of canceling Dish because a bunch of HD channels no longer work. At the moment I’m running a contest between X-Box and Apple TV to see which is the better alternative in the long run. The internet is also going to be a tremendous resource for television in the next 5 years(Joost, etc).

  28. EtherealStrife says:


  29. thunderstruck says:

    We live five miles south of a sign that says “end of the world.” First, we had DirectTV. They were fine, but didn’t offer “local” stations. We switched, post-contract to Dish, which, then, did have local stations. The Dish installer’s home was 4 states away, and they were living in a motorhome in a state park in our area. The Dish system worked fine, until it just quit one day. After many calls, they mailed me new hardware, which I had to install, and I had to mail their broken stuff back.

    So now we’re all hunky-dory, and can watch infomercials ’til hell freezes over. Oh, now the downstairs remote works both the downstairs and upstairs tuner, but we don’t really watch up there anyway. I think dish service is analagous to cell service.

  30. Alvis says:

    It’s super easy to install a dish yourself. I’ve gone the tube-in-a-5-gal-bucket-of-cement route, as well as using the provided wall mount, but screwing it straight down to a sheet of wood, then throwing a sandbag or two down. As long as this is on a balcony or another area for your exclusive use only, your building can’t stop you.

  31. Jean Naimard says:

    Ahhh! The free market!

  32. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @cornish: Hmm obviously you have never lived in a ghetto. I have as a child and the things I have seen!. I am sure no one would have cared if he had said thats soo trailer park. Because obviously only whitey lives in trailer parks so its ok to make fun of them.

  33. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    As far as I know, it’s against the law to prohibit attachment to the balcony railing.

  34. Alvis says:


    For all intents and purposes it’s prohibited, since even though a balcony is an “exclusive use area”, the air immediately past the edge of the balcony isn’t. No part of the dish or LNB arm can stick PAST the railing.

  35. acambras says:

    The problem in my particular case was that we couldn’t get a signal from my patio. To get a signal, the installer would have had to mount the dish on a pole about 5 feet out from the edge of the patio.

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik:
    To what jurisdiction’s “law” do you refer?
    Regardless of any law or regulation (although there’s none that I know of), I didn’t want to risk losing the security deposit (for violating apartment rules) or starting off this tenant/landlord relationship on the wrong foot. The installer told us our options were installation on the roof or the pole, so I asked the manager — she said no on both counts. I was disappointed (I’d been looking forward to telling Crapcast to stick it), but I see where the landlords are coming from.

  36. Alvis says:


    That sucks, but unless your landlord wants to be extra nice, you’re SOL.

    I know most people want to avoid confrontations with those with the power to make their living situation uncomfortable, but I’ve had to lay down the law with at least three different landlords over the years when putting dishes up. Every time I have to point out that their “no dishes” clause in the lease is unenforceable, as the FCC has already ruled on the issue. They whine and moan, but I usually just give them the FCC contact number and invite them to convince the FCC themselves if they want them to change their ruling. That’s the last I ever hear about them complaining.

  37. nctrnlboy says:


    I have heard that some apartment complexes require that you get some kind of special extra insurance if you want to have a dish installed. Its a way to discourage installing a dish & forcing you to sign up with their little monopoly deal with the local cable company.

    Insurance just incase your dish falls off the balcony & hurts someone. :rolleyes:

  38. flintstone03 says:

    TV is overrated! Pirate…I mean, get “shared” shows of the net! Plus it’s free! (Think I put enough exclamation points in there?) !just for good measure!

  39. acambras says:


    But again, they don’t have a “no dishes” clause in the lease — in fact, I’ve seen dishes on several balconies (on one of the other buildings — better orientation, I guess).

    Their objection would be to my having a dish installed on the roof (a space to which I have no claim anyway) or sink a pole in the yard (also a space to which I have no claim; it’s a common area).

    They also don’t have any sort of exclusivity agreement with any company, but around here, Comcast, Dish, and DirectTV are pretty much the choices people have.

  40. Alvis says:


    I had one landlord try that insurance line on me. I pointed out that they allow chairs and tables to be kept on balconies without being insured.

    Per the OTARD ruling, they couldn’t single out dishes as needing insurance, when other items of similar size and weight were permitted on balconies with no such restriction, as it constituted a prohibited “unreasonable expense”.

  41. BenMitchell says:

    Actually they can. I worked as an installer and have encountered this issue many times. They may deny you anything that is not on your balcony (ie your property) and nothing may be attached to their buildings. So unless you have a balcony that can fit either a bucket/pole mount or a tri-pod facing the perfect direction with no trees or line of sight issues, then you can forget about it.

  42. Onouris says:

    Wow is American Satellite TV really as bad as I hear?

    Whew, and I thought Sky in England was bad because they’re greedy bastards who buy shares in companies so that their competition can’t provide as good a service. (Yeah, that is getting looked into).

    At least we get a freaking free magazine telling us all about Sky and what’s on every now and then! And the dishes are sleek. They ditched the ones in the picture about 10 years ago :S

  43. rtwigg says:

    It is a violation of federal law for an apartment owner or homeowners association to forbid satellite antennas. Put in your dish and promise an FCC complaint if they try to give you grief.

  44. Alvis says:


    Commercial DBS sat TV, maybe. I can pull a crapload of free-to-air signals down with a 90cm dish and motorized aiming arm. Crisp, clean digital reception without exceeding the 1m dish size protected by the FCC.

  45. e-gadgetjunkie says:

    I went through exactly the same situation. Exactly. We are now using ATT Home Entertainment. It gives us overpriced programming without any of the benefits of having actual satellite. No special deals, no HD, no DVR, no multi-room discounts. In fact, if we want to add a second receiver, we have to pay an extra $5 a month. We cannot buy our own receiver, we have to rent one from them. I’m guessing that my apartment complex gets some kind of benefit from using this service. The only thing that I get is that when we move, the service ends. No contract other than the one with the leasing company.

  46. nctrnlboy says:


    I think it refers specifically to dishes that are hanging off the side of a balcony, hanging out a window (there are window mount kits) & hanging over the railing of the balcony. Insurance against the dish falling down below because it is hanging over a ledge. You COULD however get around that by doing the pole-in-a-bucket type of setup.

  47. Alvis says:


    Well in that case they don’t need to threaten to make you get insurance, because they can outright deny you permission to have any portion of the setup extending beyond your apartment.

  48. Major-General says:

    @cornish: Nothing quite like doing what you complain about others doing.

    @lorddave: Wasn’t the internet supposed to be doing that five years ago?

  49. Rusted says:

    @kcrusher: So right. I like not paying for advertising. Ink on paper, mostly stuck together….called books. Free to borrow at any library (just bring em’ back), cheap at used book stores, and sometimes deals at the regular chains.

    My thirty inch HDTV’s been sitting dark since last winter.

  50. SodeDogg says:

    Sorry I’m late to the party, and have no experience with either major satellite provider, but I can vouch for the awesomeness of SlingBox. I’ve had one for two months. Once you can watch the Cubs from your cubicle, you begin to wonder what you were doing with your life beforehand. If you have a friend who has a good TV package, it would be worth every penny.

  51. Greasy Thumb Guzik says:

    I’m referring to FCC regulations which override virtually all state & local ordinances.
    They also override virtually all condo & other association rules.
    See this site [www.fcc.gov] for details.
    Examples are:
    Q: What types of restrictions are prohibited?

    A: The rule prohibits restrictions that impair a person’s ability to install, maintain, or use an antenna covered by the rule. The rule applies to state or local laws or regulations, including zoning, land-use or building regulations, private covenants, homeowners’ association rules, condominium or cooperative association restrictions, lease restrictions, or similar restrictions on property within the exclusive use or control of the antenna user where the user has an ownership or leasehold interest in the property. A restriction impairs if it: (1) unreasonably delays or prevents use of; (2) unreasonably increases the cost of; or (3) precludes a person from receiving or transmitting an acceptable quality signal from an antenna covered under the rule. The rule does not prohibit legitimate safety restrictions or restrictions designed to preserve designated or eligible historic or prehistoric properties, provided the restriction is no more burdensome than necessary to accomplish the safety or preservation purpose.

    Q: What types of restrictions unreasonably delay or prevent viewers from using an antenna? Can an antenna user be required to obtain prior approval before installing his antenna?

    A: A local restriction that prohibits all antennas would prevent viewers from receiving signals, and is prohibited by the Commission’s rule. Procedural requirements can also unreasonably delay installation, maintenance or use of an antenna covered by this rule. For example, local regulations that require a person to obtain a permit or approval prior to installation create unreasonable delay and are generally prohibited.

    Q: Are all restrictions prohibited?

    A: No. Clearly-defined, legitimate safety restrictions are permitted even if they impair installation, maintenance or use provided they are necessary to protect public safety and are no more burdensome than necessary to ensure safety. Examples of valid safety restrictions include fire codes preventing people from installing antennas on fire escapes; restrictions requiring that a person not place an antenna within a certain distance from a power line; and installation requirements that describe the proper method to secure an antenna. The safety reason for the restriction must be written in the text, preamble or legislative history of the restriction, or in a document that is readily available to antenna users, so that a person who wishes to install an antenna knows what restrictions apply. Safety restrictions cannot discriminate between objects that are comparable in size and weight and pose the same or a similar safety risk as the antenna that is being restricted.

    Restrictions necessary for historic preservation also may be permitted even if they impair installation, maintenance or use of the antenna. To qualify for this exemption, the property may be any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure or object included in, or eligible for inclusion on, the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, restrictions necessary for historic preservation must be no more burdensome than necessary to accomplish the historic preservation goal. They also must be imposed and enforced in a non-discriminatory manner, as compared to other modern structures that are comparable in size and weight and to which local regulation would normally apply.

    Q: Whose antenna restrictions are prohibited?

    A: The rule applies to restrictions imposed by local governments, including zoning, land-use or building regulations; by homeowner, townhome, condominium or cooperative association rules, including deed restrictions, covenants, by-laws and similar restrictions; and by manufactured housing (mobile home) park owners and landlords, including lease restrictions. The rule only applies to restrictions on property where the viewer has an ownership or leasehold interest and exclusive use or control.

    Q: If I live in a condominium or an apartment building, does this rule apply to me?

    A: The rule applies to antenna users who live in a multiple dwelling unit building, such as a condominium or apartment building, if the antenna user has an exclusive use area in which to install the antenna. “Exclusive use” means an area of the property that only you, and persons you permit, may enter and use to the exclusion of other residents. For example, your condominium or apartment may include a balcony, terrace, deck or patio that only you can use, and the rule applies to these areas. The rule does not apply to common areas, such as the roof, the hallways, the walkways or the exterior walls of a condominium or apartment building. Restrictions on antennas installed in these common areas are not covered by the Commission’s rule. For example, the rule would not apply to restrictions that prevent drilling through the exterior wall of a condominium or rental unit and thus restrictions may prohibit installation that requires such drilling.

    Q: Does the rule apply to condominiums or apartment buildings if the antenna is installed so that it hangs over or protrudes beyond the balcony railing or patio wall?

    A: No. The rule does not prohibit restrictions on antennas installed beyond the balcony or patio of a condominium or apartment unit if such installation is in, on, or over a common area. An antenna that extends out beyond the balcony or patio is usually considered to be in a common area that is not within the scope of the rule. Therefore, the rule does not apply to a condominium or rental apartment unit unless the antenna is installed wholly within the exclusive use area, such as the balcony or patio.

    Q: Does the fact that management or the association has the right to enter these areas mean that the resident does not have exclusive use?

    A: No. The fact that the building management or the association may enter an area for the purpose of inspection and/or repair does not mean that the resident does not have exclusive use of that area. Likewise, if the landlord or association regulates other uses of the exclusive use area (e.g., banning grills on balconies), that does not affect the viewer’s rights under the Commission’s rule. This rule permits persons to install antennas on property over which the person has either exclusive use or exclusive control. Note, too, that nothing in this rule changes the landlord’s or association’s right to regulate use of exclusive use areas for other purposes. For example, if the lease prohibits antennas and flags on balconies, only the prohibition of antennas is eliminated by this rule; flags would still be prohibited.

    Q: Does the rule apply to residents of rental property?

    A: Yes.

    Q: If I live in a condominium, cooperative, or other type of residence where certain areas have been designated as “common,” do these rules apply to me?

    A: The rules apply to residents of these types of buildings, but the rules do not permit you to install an antenna on a common area, such as a walkway, hallway, community garden, exterior wall or the roof. However, you may install the antenna wholly within a balcony, deck, patio, or other area where you have exclusive use.

    Q: I live in a townhome community. Am I covered by the FCC rule?

    A: Yes.

    Q: I live in a mobile home that I own but it is located in a park where I rent the lot. Am I covered by the FCC rule?

    A: Yes.

    Q: I want to install an antenna to access the Internet. Does the rule apply to me?

    A: Yes. Antennas designed to receive and/or transmit data services, including Internet access, are included in the rule.

    Q: Does this mean that I can install an antenna that will be used for voice and data services even though it does not provide video transmissions?

    A: Yes. The most recent amendment expands the rule and permits you to install an antenna that will be used to transmit and/or receive voice and data services, except as noted above. The rule will also continue to cover antennas used to receive video programming.

    Q: Does the rule apply to commercial property or only residential property?

    A: Nothing in the rule excludes antennas installed on commercial property. The rule applies to property used for commercial purposes in the same way it applies to residential property.

    Q: What can a local government, association, or consumer do if there is a dispute over whether a particular restriction is valid?

    A: Restrictions that impair installation, maintenance or use of the antennas covered by the rule are preempted (unenforceable) unless they are needed for safety or historic preservation and are no more burdensome than necessary to accomplish the articulated legitimate safety purpose or for preservation of a designated or eligible historic site or district.

    Q: Who is responsible for showing that a restriction is enforceable?

    A: When a conflict arises about whether a restriction is valid, the local government, community association, property owner, or management entity that is trying to enforce the restriction has the burden of proving that the restriction is valid. This means that no matter who questions the validity of the restriction, the burden will always be on the entity seeking to enforce the restriction to prove that the restriction is permitted under the rule or that it qualifies for a waiver.

    Q: Who do I call if my town, community association or landlord is enforcing an invalid restriction?

    A: Call the Federal Communications Commission at (888) CALLFCC (888-225-5322), which is a toll-free number, or 202-418-7096, which is not toll-free.

  52. acambras says:

    @Greasy Thumb Guzik:

    Thanks, but it seems the apartment complex still prevails in my case:

    Q: If I live in a condominium or an apartment building, does this rule apply to me?

    A: The rule applies to antenna users who live in a multiple dwelling unit building, such as a condominium or apartment building, if the antenna user has an exclusive use area in which to install the antenna. “Exclusive use” means an area of the property that only you, and persons you permit, may enter and use to the exclusion of other residents. For example, your condominium or apartment may include a balcony, terrace, deck or patio that only you can use, and the rule applies to these areas. The rule does not apply to common areas, such as the roof, the hallways, the walkways or the exterior walls of a condominium or apartment building. Restrictions on antennas installed in these common areas are not covered by the Commission’s rule. For example, the rule would not apply to restrictions that prevent drilling through the exterior wall of a condominium or rental unit and thus restrictions may prohibit installation that requires such drilling.

    Again, in my case, I can’t get a decent signal from my patio. To get a signal to my apartment, a dish would have to be put on the roof or in the common yard, which is NOT n area of exclusive use. As is plainly stated above, “Restrictions on antennas installed in these common areas are not covered by the Commission’s rule.”

  53. gtr225 says:

    They need to make a law that outlaws deals between television/communication providers and building owners. Things like this defeat any competition and sometimes force consumers to pay higher prices because they’re landlord won’t them install a satellite dish or cable. Luckily I have Directv, Dish, Cablevision, and Verizon (landlines) at my house so I was able to pick what’s best for me, DISH for TV, Cablevision for internet, and AT&T wireless for phone. By having a choice I save money every month and have my entertainment/communications work for me rather than the other way around.

  54. beyond says:

    I don’t blame the landlord for discouraging dishes. It probably doesn’t help move apartments when there are a bunch of ugly dishes bolted to the side of the building.

  55. gtr225 says:

    @beyond: Well for fans of satellite television, that might make me wanna move there if the building has dishes on it. Finding out the building doesn’t allow satellite is an absolute guarantee I won’t move there.

  56. BenMitchell says:


    Which is what I said :)

  57. BenMitchell says:


    Actually me a buddy of mine have approached several Apt companies with a deal to install a satellite in a common area, but hide it or make it hard to see and then give all the units access to it. This allows them to offer satellite to everyone, with out having dishes all over the place. They pay us 500 per building not much when you consider the switch can cost up to 275$. But Not bad when you consider we can knock out 2-5 building at one time.