Satellite dish ?

33 Replies

My tenant wants to get Satellite T.V. instead of cable..

I have never hung a satellite dish on my roof before... but Im guessing depending on the person doing the work it could possibly create damage if not done correctly..

Should I allow the tenant to go ahead with this? what are my risks?

anyone else had good or bad experiences with this?

Should damages come out of her deposit?

or not allow this to happen at all?

I see a lot of satellite dish on a pole side of the house.

Joe Gore

Probably not much damage, those dishes aren't very big and the satelitte company is the one who hangs it (except for the scene in the movie Four Christmases). Just make sure your HOA doesn't restrict it. When they leave, it could be left on in case the next tenant wants it. If you wanted to remove the dish, there are likely four bolts that go through the roof. I've seen some videos on youtube where someone recommend a tar like substance to fill those holes and prevent moisture getting in. Sounds like the tenant is responsible enough since they're asking rather than just doing something to the house. I would likely do it as long as the dish isn't an eye sore to the neighbors or violates an HOA rule.

I believe you must allow it, the installation location may vary. Check with the satellite company or their website, they will let you know the guidelines & laws in your state - Fed laws.

I wouldn't allow them on the roof. I've seen where they've been removed and the "de-installers" just stuck a couple of plugs of silicon caulk into the shingles. I'd imagine the quality of the install might not be that much better!

I have had tenants install them on the sides of the building where there were wooden beams, and one guy just put one basically on the ground next to the house.

@Tony Cavalli I don't allow unnecessary intrusions of my roof. I think the satellite companies have started requiring their installers to get property owner permission for these installs in my area. I've had several of them installed in the past without my consent, but over the last two years, I always get a call to ask and I say put it on a pole next to the house.

This is one of my pet peeves because the installers and tenants can be in an "I don't care where you drill holes, just get my satellite in every room" mode. When I can, I'm there when the installer is, so I can help him with decisions on where to drill or not.

I also don't want 20 feet of wire coming out of a hole in the wall. I like a low voltage outlet with a plate that the tenant can attach an RCA cable to in whatever length they need and it can be removed if its not used by the next tenant.

@Robert Leonard Very thorough answer, thanks for tips and great response!

Absolutely require your written permission in your rental agreement! Even so, if you hear wind of a tenant wanting to change cable to satellite or vice versa you better be there johnny-on-th-spot! We deal with 4 providers in our area (2 cable, 2 satellite). The companies will cut the wires of their competitors and drill holes where they want to if you are not watching. If they do a roof install, it should be mounted above the eaves, not above the living space/attic.

I've seen wires connected from an outside pole down to a crawl space vent with the vent left wide open for every critter in the neighborhood to find. I have also seen wires connected from an outside pole to a roof corner, run over the roof and over the gutters, down the side of the building and directly into the siding. I've also seen worse.

We have a rental house that was fully serviced by cable with wires entering the house at one entry point and running to proper room outlets via basement, crawl space, and attic. Tenant wanted to get satellite instead. We gave our permission, with the understanding the dish could not go on the roof, and we naively thought the service provider would install in a proper manner. We weren't there the day of the install. The installers were subcontractors of the service provider. They drilled holes through the outside siding directly into the rooms where the tenant wanted their tv and computer hooked up. It was a white house and when we saw black wires running horizontal down the length of our building and vertically up to the second floor, on the outside of the building, we had a fit. Did I mention it was asbestos siding? Asbestos siding left undisturbed is no problem if properly painted and sealed, not something we want drilled. They also installed the pole in the flower bed in front of the house. They did not caulk the holes. It was the worst install we have ever seen.

I contacted all four service providers in our area and asked to see their policies on installing on rental property. I was appalled to find out if the tenant orders service and tells them it is their house (which it is not), or even says it is their "home" (which it is), the telecommunications provider will proceed with the install. If the tenant says anything about renting or contacting the landlord, they may or may not require the building owner or landlord to sign a permission document. All four companies could not guarantee they would not install without first contacting the landlord and will leave it up to the tenant to get the landlord's permission. How often does that happen? Unless your rental agreement clarifies this and has teeth, good luck.

One cable company, however, has started an address alert system whereby a landlord can list their properties in their system and if a request for service is initiated by anyone, they will require written permission from the landlord before proceeding. I put all 15 of our rental property addresses into their system and told them I would not authorize installations without our written permission and without us being there to oversee the work being done. When we do allow installs, we insist the wiring go through the crawl spaces, basements, and attics whenever possible. We also prefer the satellite dishes on poles.

Glad you asked @Tony Cavalli .... this is a topic every rental property owner should think through, the sooner the better. I am even thinking about rallying together members of our local rental association to insist the telecommunications companies make the changes necessary to show respect for our property and require our written permissions. Until that happens, every landlord and building owner needs to watch out for themselves.

My first rental property has three satellite dishes. Needless to say, I do not allow satellite dishes anymore.

My "town" rental is white with black wires all over the outside, too - sooooo attractive. The dish was on the roof - had it taken off, but Ieft the mounting bracket in place (otherwise I'd have holes in the roof). If tenants want satellite, it's got to go on a post in the yard. I've seen a lot more installations like that recently. If they get it put in any other way, I swear I'll figure out a way to make them pay for a new roof!

Also worth mentioning that you could require they install an inground dish. They always try to do the roof for a better signal and easier install, but They'd likely charge the tenant about $80 to bury a wire underground and run it into the house.

@Marcia Maynard Fantastic reply, exactly what I was envisioning was your horror story about satellite installs.

Having it in your rental agreement is key..

The address alert system is interesting.. going to look it up in the area of my rental and see if such a program exists.

I don't allow satellite dishes unless they are on a pole next to the house. But even still the tenants go ahead and install them on the roof. Holes in my brand new roof makes me mad. I just hit them up for the repair cost when they move out.

Yes, in some cities around here the cable provider requires landlord permission, others don't.

I had a 4-plex once that the tenant want Verizon FIOS Internet installed. The installer literally ran the cable through the back courtyard and draped it over a fence then ran it across the lawn to the curbside hookup. I kid you not. I had to ***** at them for weeks to do something about it.

Unfortunately, you cannot refuse to let them put up a satellite dish. Here's more info:

Federal Law

The Federal Communications Commission Order 98-273 prohibits landlords from restricting a renter's access to antennas or dishes as long as the installation meets certain criteria. Among the specifications outlined by the FCC are that direct-to-home satellite dishes must be less than 40 inches in diameter. The law states that landlords have the right to oversee the installation and to impose reasonable conditions when tenants seek to install satellite dishes.

Hope this helps.

If landlords have a satellite dish at their home and don't allow it on their rentals, I think the landlord doesn't love his tenants and trying to act uneducated.

Joe Gore

I personally feel satellite make properties look ghetto.

( current tenant is month to month versus lease )

Just my two cents


I’m the agent / operator for subject property via this thread

I purchased a multi-family where the previous owner had allowed tenants to put satellite dishes up (I think there were 6 total scattered all over the place). They looked terrible and the the big lag screws they use to mount them in the roof are always sources of leaks. I just had my contractor remove all the dishes and patch the holes. I now include a line in my lease that specifically forbids mounting any satellite dishes to my roofs.

At a different rental (a townhouse in a HOA neighborhood), my tenants wished to get satellite TV. They asked my permission first, and told me the installer could place a bracket on the flat roof and secure it with the weight of a few cinder blocks. This plan was fine with me, and I inspected the installation and it was done exactly as described.

I hate dishes and cables. They drill holes and generally make the place look terrible.

I have added to my lease clauses charging the tenants for holes drilled in the walls for cable access $150 per each. I provide them with a cable jack in the rooms and will install one if there is not one where needed. I then fish the wires to the exterior. I also charge $250 for a roof mounted dish. They can use the pole in the yard or the bricks on a flat stand on the roof but no holes.

Our lease does not permit the tenant to affix anything to the building without our written permission; and then we require it be done by one of our "sanctioned" service providers.

The first time we renovate a property after acquisition, we install conduit (with a pull) for the various service providers to the basement or equipment room/closet. We also pull CAT-5 wiring through any unit which gets a substantial renovation. We use to run coaxial able as well, but no longer do so. The service provider can pull their drop into the basement/equipment room and terminate there. No drilling holes, no mounting gear or running wires around the outside of the building.

We have a standing note/order/policy on all our properties with all local service providers that no one is to drill a hole under any circumstance without our prior written consent. A technician ignored this policy last summer and drilled a hole through the wall of one of our student houses - his employer paid to have the piece of siding replaced and the sheet rock repaired on the inside.

Originally posted by @Ryan S.:

At a different rental (a townhouse in a HOA neighborhood), my tenants wished to get satellite TV. They asked my permission first, and told me the installer could place a bracket on the flat roof and secure it with the weight of a few cinder blocks. This plan was fine with me, and I inspected the installation and it was done exactly as described.

 One of the advantages of not having winter ;-)   Such an elegantly simple solution would not work here ... for long.

@Roy N.  Just a heck of a lot of sun and heat :)

Everyone thanks for the responses, they all were taken into consideration for my decision.. In the end I decided to allow the tenant to get satellite tv under the conditions that it will not be posted on the roof but rather in the back yard out of site from the street and with minimal wires showing... Hey if I have a bad go around on this topic I will not be allowing it again. I will keep everyone updated on how it turns out. 

@Robert Steele   Leonard 

@Marcia Maynard  

 @Kathleen Leary  

So, when you say the dish needs to go on a pole in the yard, who puts the pole in? The satellite company? I am going to run into this issue in the next few weeks with a tenant who just told me they want to get Dish Network, and Dish Network told me that even though there are already Dish Network dishes on the roof it is their policy to install new dishes.

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