Q: An owner in our condominium has been lobbying for Direct TV for many years and recently he installed a satellite dish on the side of the building, presumably for a television signal. The owner did not ask permission, but he claims federal law allows him to do this. Can we take down the dish?
S.V., Treasure Coast
A: Most likely, yes. There are federal laws which allow condominium owners to a satellite dish of a certain size, but there are restrictions. Mainly, the dish must be located in an area under the unit owner’s exclusive control. This generally means that the owner may place the dish on a tripod on the rear or front lanai.
Because the exterior of your building is most likely a common element, the owner does not have exclusive ownership over the exterior wall. Most condominium documents include a prohibition against altering the common elements and drilling a satellite dish in the wall is certain an alteration of the common elements. In certain situations, the Board can allow the dish on the exterior wall, but the owner’s right to a dish does not extend this far.
Thus, I would recommend you work with a licensed Florida attorney to review your condominium documents to determine exactly where the dish is located, and whether the wall is in fact a common element. If so, the documents most likely allow you deny the satellite dish installation and you could compel the owner to remove the dish and place the dish on the lanai.
John C. Goede Esq. is co-founder and shareholder of the Law firm Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, PLLC. T o ask questions about your issues for future columns, send your inquiry to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The information provided herein is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The publication of this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Goede, Adamczyk, DeBoest & Cross, PLLC or any of our attorneys. Readers should not act or refrain from acting based upon the information contained in this article without first contacting an attorney, if you have questions about any of the issues raised herein. The hiring of an attorney is a decision that should not be based solely on advertisements or this column.