Summary: A homeowner wishes that the Homeowner’s Association would enforce their ban on satellite dishes. Ilyce and Sam explain what action the homeowner can take.
Q: Satellite dishes are prohibited by our association documents. I complained to the homeowner’s association president and he told me that the association has quit enforcing this provision.
I can’t stand the look of these things. Is there anything I can do to get the association to enforce this rule or any other rule?
A: Satellite dishes and other external equipment installations, including solar panels, have become hot issues in many parts of the country. Some communities encourage them, others fight to prevent them.
While you have a valid point that the association should enforce rules consistently and you may be able to sue the association to have them enforce the rules, the costs involved may be prohibitive to you.
For example, if you decide to sue your association to have them enforce the rule, you, as a member of the association, may end up paying for not only suing the association but also part of the costs of the association defense of your suit. Your dues to the association may have to go up to pay for the litigation. In a small association of three units, you would end up paying one-third of the cost of defending the lawsuit.
Also, some municipalities and some state legislatures have enacted laws to prevent homeowner associations from preventing homeowners from installing solar panels or cable television wiring. Depending on where you are, you may have an uphill battle to enforce the association rule.
You may wish, however, to have the rules amended to encourage the placement of satellite dishes in areas other than those with open view and work with the association to find other ways to beautify the development without trying to enforce an outright ban on something as popular as satellite dishes.
Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022 or contact them through Ilyce’s website www.thinkglink.com