Irish Times Property Clinic 19th day of June 2014.
Publishing Date; Thursday the 19th day of June 2014.
Q. My girlfriend and I bought an apartment in a large complex last year. We were informed at the time that the management company in the complex does not allow satellite dishes as they take from the overall look of the development; unfortunately we didn’t question it or even think too much about it at the time. We now want to get a Sky dish as our current service/ service provider is really poor. We see other apartments with the dishes up in our complex and wonder if we could risk putting one up ourselves? Could the management company fine us or what’s the worst that could happen? Is there a way to go about getting the rule changed?
A. The requirement for satellite dishes in owners’ management company developments is diminishing with the improvement of cable television and the coming of age of internet supported television offering a plethora of content. The major barrier to entry to market for these products is where the transition to on-demand content will be hindered by poor broadband. Many owners’ management companies arrange for a communal dish to be installed in the development so as to allow the members avail of satellite television. Sky previously offered free communal dish installation with sub contractors working with the Owners’ Management Company (OMC). There are now private contractors that will install communal dishes for a fee. The presence of a communal dish in a development negates the requirement for each individual property to arrange for their own installation. It is not just an eye sore for the development to have numerous dishes but also a material risk to the fabric of the building. High winds and poor dish installation can irreparably damage the contact area on the building which may then require costly repair work.
The members of the owners’ management company all signed a binding lease agreement when they purchased their property. Most lease agreements prohibit the installation and erection of aerials and dishes.
If the development is being appropriately managed it would be safe to assume that the existing dishes will be removed and the offending members will be liable for all associated costs.
Planning permission is required if a dish is to be erected or installed that is associated with an apartment. As the exterior fabric of the development would traditionally be part of the common areas held by the OMC, it is that entity that would apply for planning permission for the installation of a dish. An individual property owner could not therefore make an application. Enforcement action may be taken by the local authority against the owner/occupier who installed the dish or aerial as well as the contractor who installed it. I would recommend you contact your local authority and review your lease agreement.
Paul Huberman is a member of the property and facilities management professional group of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, www.scsi.ie
Author: Paul Huberman of H&H Property Management Consultants Ltd
Publish Date: 19/06/2014