FCC rules outweigh local government regulations

Editor’s note: This is the fourth column in a specials series that addresses, with the help of the Federal Communications Commission, how homeowners’ associations should handle satellite dishes.

Q: Are there any grandfather rules for over-the-air-reception devices?

A: In implementing Section 207 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 the FCC consolidated two rule-making proceedings that involve Section 207. In International Bureau Docket No. 95-59, rules were adopted prohibiting certain restrictions on satellite antenna reception. Section 207 by prohibits governmental restrictions on reception. This was a revision of a 1986 rule that pre-empted local governmental regulations of satellite earth stations unless the regulations: (a) had a reasonable and clearly defined health, safety or aesthetic objective, and (b) it did not unreasonably limit, or did not prevent reception or impose unreasonable costs on users.

Q: How can I file a petition for a declaratory ruling or request a rule waiver?

A: In cases where an agreement cannot be reached between the association and the resident, you can file a petition for a declaratory ruling or request a rule waiver. Parties may petition the commission for a declaratory ruling under Section 1.2 of the rules, 47 C.F.R. 1.2, or a court of competent jurisdiction, to determine whether a particular restriction is permissible.

Q: Can I continue to use my antenna while my petition for a declaratory ruling or request for a waiver is being processed?

A: You can continue to use your antenna unless it involves possible safety or historic preservation issues. Otherwise, the restriction cannot be enforced while the petition is pending.

Q: I live in a townhouse community, am I covered by the FCC rule?

A: Yes. If you own the entire townhouse, including the walls and the roof and the land under the building, then the rule applies just as it does for a single-family home, and you may be able to put the antenna on the roof, the exterior wall, the backyard or any other place that is part of what you own.

If the townhouse is a condominium, then the rule applies as it does for any other type of condominium, which means it applies only where you have an exclusive use area. If it is a condominium townhouse, you probably cannot use the roof, the chimney or the exterior walls unless the condominium association gives you permission. You may want to check your ownership documents to determine what areas are owned by you or are reserved for your exclusive use.

Q: I want to install an antenna for broadcast radio or amateur radio. Does the rule apply to me?

A: The rule does not apply to antennas used for AM/FM radio or amateur Ham radio.

Next week we will go back to answering questions from our readers about local HOAs.


The Las Vegas chapter of the Institute of Real Estate Management will hold its annual forecast breakfast Jan. 11 from 10 a.m.-noon at The Bellagio. Registration will be held at 9:30 a.m. Preregistration cost $55 per person.

Heidi Harris of KDWN 720 AM, radio will emcee the event. The panel of speakers include John Restrepo, principle, RCG Economics; Rick Myers, president, Thomas & Mack Development; Mike Mullin, president CEO, Nevada HAND; John Guedry, president chief operating officer, Bank of Nevada; Michael Young, executive recruiter, Caesars Entertainment.

Sponsorships are available for this event. Contact Denise Razo at iae@iremlv.org.

Barbara Holland, certified property manager, is president and owner of H&L Realty and Management Co. To ask her a question, email support@hlrealty.com.

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