One of those options – satellite service from companies like Dish Network and DIRECTV – involves installing equipment outside your home. So what does opting for satellite TV mean for apartment and condominium residents or single-family-home renters?
Renters who want satellite service are supported in their choice by Federal Communications Commission rules. The FCC says anyone renting his or her home has the right to install a satellite dish or receiving antenna. The federal agency's guidelines also state that a landlord is prohibited from imposing restrictions that prevent or delay installation, maintenance, or use of an antenna or satellite dish. In most cases, requirements to get approval before an installation are prohibited, the FCC says.
However, the property owner does have the right to impose some restrictions on the installations, such as for safety reasons or the preservation of historic areas. Details may be explained in your lease or rental agreement.
Generally, the rental guidelines for having a satellite dish are straightforward. The dish must be one meter or less in diameter, and it must be installed only in an area leased by the tenant. That means the dish must be in the satellite subscriber's residence or on his or her balcony, patio or terrace. For single-family homes, permissible areas include the house, patio, yard, or similar areas.
A satellite dish cannot be placed in an apartment or condominium complex's common areas, such as on the roof or exterior walls.
The installation must be performed by a professional, and take into consideration safety, interference, and potential alterations of the property. For example, the dish must be secured safely to a heavy object or tripod, and the dish installation can't interfere with the complex's own telecommunications and electrical systems. And, if the signal transmission from the dish requires a cable, the line must run flat under a door jamb or windowsill or via other industry-standard methods so that it does not alter the residence or the use of the door or window.
Finally, when a renter moves, the satellite equipment must be taken out. The resident would be responsible for the cost of repairing any damage that occurs in the removal process.
As with any modifications to your rental home – whether it's an apartment in a large complex or a single-family home – checking with your landlord first is advised.