Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums
Article Archive
Building & Neighborhood Issues

Published: Autumn 1998

CNYC thanks Terry Lewis, Esq. for the following summary of newly released Federal Communications Commission regulations regarding the placement of antennas and satellite dishes. Ms. Lewis chairs the Government Relations Committee of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives (NAHC). NAHC and the Community Associations Institute (CAI) have spearheaded a nationwide campaign, in which CNYC has participated, aimed at persuading the FCC to permit boards of cooperatives, condominiums and homeowners associations to regulate the placement of these devices on their buildings. Prior FCC directives on this issue had usurped this power of the board, producing such great outcry that the FCC had withdrawn those regulations and reviewed the issue.

On September 25, 1998, the FCC issued Order No. 98-214, its Order on Reconsideration regarding the restriction and/or regulation of antenna and satellite dish installations. This document clarifies the portion of the prior order regarding the ability of landlords, cooperatives, condominiums and homeowners' associations to prohibit, restrict or regulate the placement of satellite dishes and antennae in a way that is respectful of the legal rights of landlords, cooperatives, condominiums and homeowners' associations.

Paragraph 77 of the Order states that tenants who have no ownership interest in a property must have the permission of the property owner if they wish to install a ?Section 207 device ? (e.g. satellite dish or antenna) either inside or outside their apartments. Both the initial order and this Order on Reconsideration prescribe different treatment for the resident who has ?a direct or indirect ownership interest? in the property. The 9/25/98 Order states that:

    A condominium owner, townhome owner, owner of a manufactured home, or cooperative unit dweller who has exclusive use of a balcony, balcony railing, deck, patio ... has the right, subject to certain restrictions of our Section 207 rules, to place Section 207 devices thereon.

The restrictions cooperatives and condominium associations may impose in these areas of exclusive use can relate only to public safety and are quite limited, But areas of exclusive use are generally limited to the interiors of the dwelling units and the few additional areas listed above. The Order acknowledges the right of the cooperative, condominium or homeowners association to regulate and to absolutely prohibit the use of antennae and satellite dishes on exterior walls, roofs and other common areas of the building.

The FCC is expected to issue a Second Report and Order in the near future. It will address ?the rights of a tenant viewer with respect to a property owner who prohibits or restricts the installation, maintenance or use of a Section 207 device. The generally shared view is that the Second Report and Order will not attempt to interfere with the rights of property owners (including cooperatives corporations and condominiums associations) to control building exteriors beyond areas under the exclusive use or control of the resident owner as discussed above.

At the suggestion of Board member Marleen Levi, CNYC has instituted a Committee on Board Recognition, which Ms. Levi chairs. This committee seeks out unsung heroes and heroines in CNYC member cooperatives and condominiums, with the intention of making their deeds known.

The Board Recognition Committee invites CNYC members to share special stories of accomplishments and successes. Quite often, board members are faced with issue-specific challenges, changes, obstacles, project management - an endless array of agenda items ranging from simple to complex. The dedication, commitment, diligence and concentrated work efforts that go into solving these problems merit our recognition.

Perhaps your building's heroine has undertaken a difficult mortgage refinancing, has overseen a challenging change in management, scheduled major projects, hired a new superintendent, enhanced relationships between the board and the building residents. Whether it involved upgrading internal procedures, contracting for landscaping services, or resolving a crisis, the Board Recognition Committee wants your hero's story.

CNYC invites you to share in this network exchange of information and Board recognition. Please forward your stories to CNYC at 250 West 57th Street, NYC 10023, Attn: M. Levi. You may also fax them to (212) 580-7801 or send them by e-mail to Submissions should include outstanding issue-specific examples of accomplishments of individual or board-wide note, and should contain the name and phone number of the writer and the individual(s) cited for excellence. We look forward to telling these stories in the pages of the CNYC Newsletter.


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