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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Yes, You CAN Have An Outdoor TV Antenna!

Can I Haz Antenna?
I've had a lot of people tell me "I would like to put up a TV antenna, but my Home Owner's Association prohibits it." Yes, a lot of HOAs try to prohibit TV antennas and/or satellite dishes. But did you know that if you OWN your own single family detached home, no HOA - or local government entity, for that matter - can prohibit you from putting an antenna on you roof? The FCC has prohibited these sort of shenanigans since 1996, and there are very few exceptions. Even renters, mobile home park residents, and owners of townhouses are afforded some protections from the  tyranny of HOAs and landlords according to the FCC's OTARD ( "Over-the-Air Reception Devices")rules. Since October 1996, the FCC has banned "restrictions that impair the installation, maintenance or use of antennas used to receive video programming." The rules have since been expanded it to protect the right of renters to set up antennas in areas they control, such as balconies or porches, and to cover wireless-broadband receivers.

There are some exceptions to the rules, but they aren't very difficult to understand.
For the most part, HOAs and local governing bodis can still prohibit satellite dishes larger than one meter, except in Alaska, and TV antenna masts that reach higher than 12 feet above the roof. The FCC also allows antenna bans for safety or to comply with historic-preservation rules.Also, if an apartment building or townhome has a central antenna  which provides reception as good as an individual antenna, management can also block residents from setting up their own antennas.

You also do not have to wait while the FCC reviews your HOA's petition, and OTARD  prohibits "unreasonable" advance-notification requirements and permitting fees. In almost every case the FCC has ruled on, HOA rules have been shot down. Also note that while the FCC sets a size limit on satellite dishes, there is no restriction as to the size of an Over-The-Air (OTA) TV antenna, nor is there any restriction on the number of OTA antennas or satellite dishes one may have.

I know many people are timid about confronting their HOA, but most HOAs back down when shown the OTARD  rules. If you have been told that you can't put up a TV antenna or satellite dish, please carefully read and understand the OTARD rules: If you feel you've been denied the right to put up a TV antenna, contact the FCC for assistance: 888-CALL FCC (888-225-5322). 

Then go buy yourself a TV antenna, and tell your HOA where to stick it.

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