Cord-Cutting 101: When Your HOA Says “No Antenna!”

You want to put up a TV antenna but your homeowners association says “No!” Here’s what you can do to cut the cord in your planned community.

Homeowners associations, aka the dreaded HOA, can be a cord-cutter’s nightmare. These tiny fiefdoms often have a board or similar governing body that rule with an iron fist. They tend to object to residents putting up over-the-air TV antennas. Here’s what you need to do if your HOA tries to forbid you from putting up a TV antenna.

The Head-On Approach

This approach is only recommended for those who are ready to draw a line in the sand to take on their HOA. Challenge your HOA to read the Federal Communication Commission’s Over-the-Air Reception Devices Rule (Commonly known as OTARD). It enforces a provision of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and bans “restrictions that impair the installation, maintenance, or use of antennas used to receive video programming.” The rule allows people to use antennas under 39 inches on every side on balconies and porches.

While this is usually enough to get your HOA to back down, you can make enemies with this approach. Some HOA members thrive on the power they have over you and other residents. Showing these personality types the limitations of their control can cause hurt feelings. That’s when these folks get dangerous. While you might win the battle, you end up in a war. You soon might find yourself written up for every infraction of community rules. If you’re concerned about this pettiness, there are other ways to get free HDTV.

The Subtle Approach

If you don’t want to reeducate your condo board, you can always go with a less obtrusive indoor TV antenna. These small, paper-thin devices can be placed inside your window to receive TV signal. It’s a great solution for anyone who lives within 10 to 15 miles from the nearest TV transmitters. With your antenna inside the house, your HOA – and snoopy neighbors eager to rat you out – might not even notice it.

If you live too far away from the city to use an indoor TV antenna, you have other options. There are many small outdoor TV antennas you can put in a flower pot and set on your balcony or porch. This is a viable solution for many people who want to cut the cord without any friction with their HOA.

While a small antenna on your balcony or porch is within your rights, you can get some push back from the HOA. If you do, you always can refer them to the FCC’s Telecommunications Act of 1996. If they continue to push, call the FCC at 888-CALL-FCC (888-225-5322).

How Solid Signal Can Help

It’s not our policy to intervene in customers’ disputes with landlords and HOAs. Also, it’s important to note that the advice given here is not the same as seeking legal counsel. With that said, there are ways that we can help you cut the cord in your community. We will help find the right TV antenna for your unique situation. Just call us at 888-233-7563. We’re happy to help you cut the cord.

About the Author

Jake Buckler
Jake Buckler is a cord-cutter, consumer electronics geek, and Celtic folk music fan. Those qualities, and his writing experience, helped him land a copywriting gig at Signal Group, LLC. He also contributes to The Solid Signal Blog.