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Dumped Cable TV - Saving $109/mo - Still have 45+ channels (1 Viewer)

Mark Booth

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I've spent some additional research time reading many of the FCC's Declaratory Rulings regarding petitioners (homeowners) claims against their HOA. Some of them are quite amusing, demonstrating that some HOA Boards are clinging to that "last straw of hope" that they can prevent their homeowner from keeping his TV antenna. The desperation by the HOAs is amazing. Claiming new housing as "historical preservation" buildings, etc.

One homeowner installed 6 masts, 5 TV antennas and 3 satellite dishes in his backyard, most of which were visible above the roofline of the house. Even with with that many masts, dishes and antennas on his property, the FCC ruled in his favor.

Time and time again, the FCC has slapped down HOAs. It appears to me that the FCC actually enjoys slapping down these HOA Boards that think their antiquated rules are more important than Federal Law.

I have decided I will not be waiting for my HOA Board to make some kind of decision. I don't care if it is going to be a decision favorable to me or not. Tomorrow, I am going to start the process of filing a Petition for Declaratory Ruling with the FCC and against my HOA. Such a ruling is needed to stop my HOA's Board in its tracks. I want the subject settled legally and permanently.

Mark
 

Mark Booth

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I've heard through the grapevine that at least one of our HOA Board members is claiming our property management company sent me that take down notice without authorization from the Board. If that's true, then we need a new property management company. But I still find it hard to believe the property manager would send the letter without authorization. SOMEBODY on the Board must have authorized it and approved the language. And, if a decision was made by a partial Board without consulting the full Board, then we likely have 1 or more rogue Board members that need to be removed from the Board.

Mark
 

Tony Bensley

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I've heard through the grapevine that at least one of our HOA Board members is claiming our property management company sent me that take down notice without authorization from the Board. If that's true, then we need a new property management company. But I still find it hard to believe the property manager would send the letter without authorization. SOMEBODY on the Board must have authorized it and approved the language. And, if a decision was made by a partial Board without consulting the full Board, then we likely have 1 or more rogue Board members that need to be removed from the Board.

Mark
Perhaps some of the boys on the board need to be taken to the boys downtown! ;)

Sorry Mark, I'm just paraphrasing a couple of lines from AIRPLANE 2: THE SEQUEL (1982), although it appears to me the absurdity you've had to deal with isn't very far off! :P

All kidding aside, I believe that you're doing what you need to do regarding your HOA situation, and I hope it gets resolved quickly to your satisfaction!

CHEERS! :)
 

Tony Bensley

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As for our situation in regards to paring down our Cable (With DVR) from the additional Internet (40 mbps download with 175 GB monthly cap) + Landline (With unlimited Canada/U.S. Long Distance) package, it once again doesn't appear as though it would likely be worth it, since the amount of extra $$ it would cost for upgrading to unlimited Internet for program viewing, especially with losing the bundled discount, would have us shelling out pretty close to what we're already paying for all three combined services! I suppose that in a way, this could be construed as a good thing, in that our monthly bill isn't too outrageous compared with what some others pay for similar services!

While consulting with my wife remains to be done, I'm thinking we'll likely be agreeing to another 12 months at around $170/month Canadian.

CHEERS! :)
 

DaveF

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I've heard through the grapevine that at least one of our HOA Board members is claiming our property management company sent me that take down notice without authorization from the Board. If that's true, then we need a new property management company. But I still find it hard to believe the property manager would send the letter without authorization. SOMEBODY on the Board must have authorized it and approved the language. And, if a decision was made by a partial Board without consulting the full Board, then we likely have 1 or more rogue Board members that need to be removed from the Board.

Mark
That makes perfect sense to me: our property management company acts autonomously within their contract. They do not vet every infraction with the HOA board before sending a citation. I would assume yours is the same; it seems wholly plausible the mgt co saw the antennaes and reacted without digging into the issue.
 

Mark Booth

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I have served on a couple of committees and attended multiple Board meetings in the last 7 years (since I retired). I've got a pretty good feeling for how this Board works and I find it VERY hard to believe that the issue wasn't discussed by Board members. In fact, now that I think about it, I *know* it was discussed because on or about April 10th, I received a telephone call from the management company asking me to submit more information about the OTARD Rule so the Board could have a better understanding for their decision. At that time, I asked WHAT decision because a decision wasn't necessary. The ARC form I submitted wasn't for approval, it was for notification. But, in the spirit of friendliness, I DID submit and email with LOTS of information explaining why the HOA had no legal leg to stand on.

I did everything I could do to EDUCATE the Board about the FCC's OTARD Rule before SOMEONE decided to eventually send me the nastygram. Something stinks to high heaven in all of this and I'm going to personally get to the bottom of it.

Mark
 

Mark Booth

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My Petition for Declaratory Ruling from the FCC is completed and ready to be mailed. Copies will go out to the FCC and my HOA's management company tomorrow via certified mail. I'm sure it will take a few months for the FCC to rule and I'm 100% confident the FCC will rule in my favor. I'll be happy to share the ruling when I receive it! :)

Mark
 

Aaron Silverman

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Mark, I think you may be overreacting. That letter was clearly a *temporary* denial until they could confer with their attorney. Why not just request that they do it quickly, and see what happens? If you turn this into a big fight then you may create more hassles for yourself in the long run by getting on the board's bad side.
 

Mark Booth

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Mark, I think you may be overreacting. That letter was clearly a *temporary* denial until they could confer with their attorney. Why not just request that they do it quickly, and see what happens? If you turn this into a big fight then you may create more hassles for yourself in the long run by getting on the board's bad side.

The way I see it is this... The FCC's OTARD Rule has been the law of the land for 20 years. Yet, if you research it, you can find hundreds of cases where homeowners have had to fight their HOAs' restrictions for satellite dishes and TV antennas. My HOA rewrote its "Rules for Homeowners" in 2006 and FINALLY "permitted" satellite dishes (10 years after they didn't have any legal say in the matter anyway). But they did NOT permit TV antennas at the same time. The OTARD Rule CLEARLY applies to both satellite dishes and TV antennas equally. But the a-holes on the HOA Board at the time didn't want no stinking TV antennas so they left in the restrictions against those. Maybe they figured nobody would care because who's going to put up a TV antenna these days anyway, right? But that is beside the point, they intentionally left TV antennas excluded despite CLEAR knowledge of the OTARD Rule because they finally started allowing satellite dishes.

These HOA Boards are assisted by paid professional property management companies. The property management companies handle dozens, if not hundreds, of properties at the same time. It is their responsibility to know the laws and advise their clients accordingly. THAT is their purpose. Yet, right along with the HOA Boards, the property management companies have attempted to bully homeowners into submission, despite the homeowner being well within his rights to put up a TV antenna. Just go to the FCC's OTARD Rule web page and read some of the example Declaratory Rulings the FCC has shared. Some of these HOA Boards and management companies have outright LIED about the facts in order to try to keep TV antennas out of the association (and the FCC called them on it). In one case, the HOA was claiming the homeowner's building was a historic property, yet, the building was recently built.

I am absolutely positive that my HOA is eventually going to "rule" in my favor. It will almost certainly happen before the FCC makes a ruling. It might even happen this week. But their "ruling" means NOTHING to me. I don't need their permission. I didn't ask for their permission. I don't want their permission.

My HOA continues to act as if they have a say in the matter. THEY DO NOT! As long as my home doesn't have a historic designation, and as long as there are no safety concerns regarding my antenna install (such as nearby power lines), my TV antennas install is none of my HOA's business.

THAT is the problem. HOAs and management companies acting like they are all-important when it comes to TV antennas. As long as my antennas install meets the guidelines in the OTARD Rule, my HOA has no more say about my antennas than I have about how often the Board members brush their teeth.

THAT is what I've been trying to impress upon them. I was VERY proactive in trying to educate them BEFORE we got to this point. Yet, they continue to act like the are in charge of my life as far as my TV antennas are concerned. And that REALLY pisses me off.

I filed the Petition for Declaratory Ruling so that the FCC can slap down my HOA AND my HOA's management company. THAT may be the only way they finally "get it" and start leaving homeowners alone when they erect TV antennas that meet the OTARD Rule guidelines.

And I don't care if I get on the Board's bad side. I fight for what is right, NOT for what is popular or politically correct.

Mark
 
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Mark Booth

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I received a text message from our HOA Board President last night, telling me there was a letter at my front door. The handwritten letter offered an apology for the frustration the take-down demand letter had caused me and explained the Board was meeting last night in special session to draft an official letter. The official letter was left in my mailbox overnight, here is the text of that letter:

"Dear Mr. Booth,

It has come to the attention of the Board of Directors that an unapproved letter regarding your antenna was sent to you by our property manager on April 20, 2016. The Board would like to apologize for this letter which denied your request for a TV antenna and asked that you remove the temporary antenna.

The Board of Directors hereby retracts that letter sent to you by [redacted] and asks you to please ignore it.

Furthermore, the Board thanks you for the FCC Rule information and thorough documentation you provided.

Please accept our sincere apologies for the miscommunication and any inconvenience this may have caused you.

Sincerely,

The [redacted] Board of Directors"


The letter is signed by every Board member.

In additional text message exchanges with the Board President, I learned that they did not receive the majority of my emails on the subject (which I was sending directly to the property manager) until late Monday night. The property manager put together a 39-page addendum document for Board member discussion at the Board meeting later this week and sent it out Monday night. Most of those 39 pages were emails, articles and documents I had sent to support my contention that the FCC OTARD Rule and Federal Law were on my side. When the full Board had a chance to finally read my emails and supporting documentation, they decided they didn't even need a legal opinion because the documentation I supplied was so overwhelmingly convincing.

So, as it turns out, the property manager was acting independently from the Board when she decided to send that nastygram. It boggles my mind that a property manager could send such a demand without Board approval, but I am now convinced that is exactly what happened. I have already apologized to the Board President for any bad thoughts I had about her and the rest of the Board, and I am going to compose a letter to offer the apology to the entire Board (and address the subject of the property manager acting on her own without Board approval).

FWIW, I informed the Board President that I had already mailed the Petition for Declaratory Ruling and she said she fully understood.

I absolutely do not regret the time and energy I put into putting together the Petition for Declaratory Ruling. The restrictive language contained in my HOA's CC&Rs and Rules for Homeowners isn't going to be removed anytime soon. But a Declaratory Ruling in the Board's possession (including future Boards) will, hopefully, prevent problems for my fellow homeowners in the future.

Mark
 

Mark Booth

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Unfortunately, the "drama" of this situation didn't end with the Board's letter of retraction. But the politics that are going on (a bunch of CYA) are a different issue than the issue at hand, namely, TV antennas installs.

To anyone reading this.. If you live in an HOA, have exclusive use of the property upon which you wish to erect TV antenna(s), meet the FCC OTARD Rule's guidelines for said TV antenna(s), are erecting the antenna(s) in an area that is free of nearby power lines or other safety concerns, don't live in a historic property, and your HOA has rules that restrict TV antennas, you can politely tell your HOA to stuff it. They can't legally require approval (advance or otherwise) and they can't restrict your ability to install TV antenna(s) that are covered by the Rule. Period.

The ONLY thing your HOA can do is develop a set of guidelines (in advance) that suggest the most preferred types of placement for TV antennas. Such as, "when possible, please do not install your TV antennas at the front of your home," etc. And even then, if the suggested/preferred placement restricts your ability to receive a reliable signal OR creates an unreasonable amount of additional expense, you can still tell your HOA to stuff it (just be prepared to defend your decision if your HOA appeals to the FCC themselves).

Mark
 

Aaron Silverman

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And I don't care if I get on the Board's bad side. I fight for what is right, NOT for what is popular or politically correct.

It's not about being popular or politically correct; it's about not causing unnecessary trouble with people that a) are your neighbors and b) have (other) power over you. :)

Anyway, glad to hear that things seem to be working out in the end!
 

Mark Booth

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It's not about being popular or politically correct; it's about not causing unnecessary trouble with people that a) are your neighbors and b) have (other) power over you. :)

Anyway, glad to hear that things seem to be working out in the end!

Nobody has any power over me that I didn't already grant them of my own free will by choosing to live in an HOA. And those things they truly have power over me about (which is NOT my TV antennas), I willing agreed to allow that power. I don't want my neighbors painting their house lime green or passionate pink so I'm perfectly willing to not paint my house those colors either.

Not that I think it would happen (I'm quite confident that it won't), but if I start getting "dinged" by the walk-through committee with door hangers for little minor things about my property, you can bet your butt that I'll be all over the Board like stink on a skunk. That's called retaliation and the law expressly forbids it.

My home and landscaping are an example by which other homes in the association are measured. I have the COMPLIMENTARY door hangers from the walk-through committee to prove it. They aren't about to go the other way and there's little else they could ever complain about.

Mark
 

Mark Booth

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I received a telephone call from the FCC this morning. The representative informed me that they have reviewed my submitted documents and it is their initial assessment that my TV antennas install complies with—and is protected by—the guidelines contained in the FCC’s OTARD Rule. The representative asked if there had been any changes in my situation. I informed her that I had received a letter of retraction and apology from the HOA Board.

The representative informed me the FCC will be mailing me a letter (with copy to the HOA) that explains their initial finding, along with additional information about the FCC OTARD Rule. She explained that, in the majority of cases, this initial letter from the FCC is enough to convince reluctant HOAs to abide by the guidelines set forth in the OTARD Rule. She said, typically, no further action is required of the FCC. She said the FCC will only move forward with the Petition for Declaratory Ruling if the Petitioner informs the FCC that their HOA continues to demand the removal of TV antenna(s) that are covered by the OTARD Rule.

Upon receipt of the letter from the FCC, and baring any surprises from any future HOA Boards, I will consider the matter closed.

Mark
 

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