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FCC Sides with CAI on Common Property Antenna Installations

11/23/1998  -  Alexandria, VA

In a significant victory for the Community Associations Institute and condominium, cooperative and homeowner associations nationwide, the Federal Communications Commission moved to protect common property in its Second Report and Order pertaining to the Over the Air Reception Devices (OTARD) Rule. The FCC ruled on Nov. 20 that community association common property cannot be used for installation of any antenna by an individual resident or owner without the association's permission.

"This decision represents a significant and hard-fought victory for CAI, which has vigorously opposed any expansion of the OTARD rule for two years," said Richard S. Ekimoto Esq., chairman of CAI's Government and Public Affairs Council. "We are pleased that the FCC has acknowledged that it does not have the authority to apply Section 207 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to community association common property and that any such action would be an unconstitutional taking."

The Second Report provides that individual residents may install direct broadcast satellite (DBS), television broadcast, or multi-point distribution service (MDS) antennas only on individually-owned or exclusive-use-area property. While the Second Report protects common property, it does not completely secure the rights of landlords to control rental property and permits tenants to install antennas on any exclusive-use-area property covered by their lease. It also reverses a portion of the FCC's Sept. 25 Order on Reconsideration, which stipulated that tenants must obtain the owner's permission before installing an antenna.

While CAI applauds the FCC's decision on common property, it is likely that this issue may be debated again in the legislative arena before it is resolved. In a separate statement released with the Second Report, FCC Chairman William Kennard indicated that he would like to see legislation to further extend the OTARD rule.

The Second Report and Order and amended OTARD Rule are available in the Government and Public Affairs section of CAI's web site and from CAI's faxback service, 703/836-6904, document 513. For more information, call CAI at 703/548-8600 or e-mail g&

In early 1999, CAI will publish a comprehensive book on OTARD and other important telecommunications issues that affect community associations including model rules and guidelines on compliance.

The Community Associations Institute is a nonprofit association created in 1973 to educate and represent the nation's 205,000 community associations—condominium associations, homeowner associations and cooperatives. CAI members include homeowners, associations and related professionals and service providers.

Phone: 703-970-9235