Written by attorney Steven Christophe Williams


Tenants frequently attempt to install satellite dishes without landlord permission. Doing this may damage the property and a landlord may simply not want satellite dishes on his or her building. A landlord is not without rights when a tenant does this.

The landlord should first review the rental agreement to see if there is a provision regarding the installation of satellite dishes. If there is, then the tenant has likely breached this provision, and the landlord may take steps to enforce the rental agreement, which may even result in an eviction. If there isn’t, then the landlord should certainly include such a specific provision in the future.

Notwithstanding a rental agreement provision to the contrary, the law generally permits a tenant to install a satellite dish inside the rental unit or in areas used exclusively by the tenant. The law does not, however, permit a tenant to unilaterally install a satellite dish in common areas or on the roof.

So if a tenant has installed a satellite dish on the roof without the landlord’s permission, the landlord may usually require the tenant to remove it. And the tenant may be liable for any resulting damage to the property.

If, on the other hand, the landlord decides to allow the tenant to keep the satellite dish, then the landlord should assure himself or herself that it was properly and professionally installed without damage to the property. The landlord should also amend the rental agreement to reflect the tenant’s responsibilities and liabilities regarding the satellite dish.

Finally, satellite television providers are supposed to first obtain the owner’s consent when installing a satellite dish on the property. This doesn’t always happen. In fact, there was a class action lawsuit filed in Federal Court against one particular satellite television provider for doing this. If the installation has damaged the property, then the satellite television provider may also be liable for these damages.

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