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Author Topic: HOA and Antenna - What do you think?  (Read 25241 times)
KG7IEJ
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Posts: 10




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« on: February 10, 2014, 11:29:15 AM »

Hello All,

I just recently started getting into HAM radio and unfortunately I live in a neighbourhood with an HOA.  Angry

I am currently looking at putting up the Arrow Antenna OSJ 146/440 for my Kenwood TM-V71A on my 2 story house.

I plan on putting the antenna on a 5' or 10' mast.  I have been looking though my CC&Rs and I don't see anything that says anything about an antenna.

The only thing that I see that could be construed as being grounds for a complaint would be the to sections from my CC&Rs below.

What do you guys think?  Also I have noticed a few people with TV antennas in the neighbourhood so I am hoping what I am doing won't be a big deal...





73s
KG7IEJ


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K7JQ
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Posts: 343




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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2014, 12:58:58 PM »

Small satellite dishes and TV antennas (called OTARDS...Over The Air Receiving Devices) are allowed by federal law, and cannot be disallowed by HOAs. Read further into the CC&Rs, and (unless the attorneys screwed up) you'll probably find a section that deals with radio transmitting antennas. I hope I'm wrong...good luck.
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W1VT
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2014, 01:18:33 PM »

Same thing with displays of the American Flags--they normally weren't allowed by HOAs until President Bush signed a law passed by Congress.  

http://www.hoaleader.com/public/139.cfm
HOA Rules: What You Must Know About Flag Restrictions
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KG7IEJ
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2014, 01:31:05 PM »

Yeah nothing on radio transmitting antennas.  The word radio or antenna does not come up in the CC&R document at all.  I checked with the city and they said it is ok with them but couldn't comment on the HOA.

I hope I am good to go then but I guess I will find out if I am not Grin 

Thanks,

KG7IEJ
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WI8P
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2014, 03:12:23 PM »

The only way to be reasonably sure is to get it writing from the HOA.  I suspect they will want specifics, such as what type of antenna, means of mounting and height.  Or you could take the document to an attorney for their opinion.
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KG7IEJ
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« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2014, 04:08:15 PM »

Yeah I am thinking that asking the HOA and getting it in writing would be the best move but at the same time I couldn't play the ignorance card if I did that Wink
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AA4PB
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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2014, 04:20:58 PM »

If you are sure that the CC&R's don't mention antennas (other than a dish), why ask and give them the opportunity to reject it or add a new rule to prevent it? Make sure there aren't any other rules hidden away in a different section that might be applied to the antenna or mast. I'm thinking something like "anything added to the exterior of the house must be approved by the HOA".
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KG7IEJ
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« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2014, 04:48:20 PM »

That is a good point and I don't see anything related to adding anything to the exterior of the structure.  Only the front yard and changing the front of the house needs HOA approval.

Thanks,

KG7IEJ
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ONAIR
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« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2014, 01:46:28 AM »

Many hams have created home brew amateur antennas that look like TV antennas or satellite dishes.  There are even ones commercially made to look like flagpoles or roof vents!
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KG4RUL
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« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2014, 04:49:50 AM »

The catch-all phrase for banning antennas is "structures".  If your CC&Rs regulate structures then they can lump any antenna, with the exception of those covered by OTARD, in that category.
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K6JHU
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« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2014, 06:41:33 AM »

The key statement in the CCRs is 'other similar devices'. And your CCRs also siting requires the approval of the ACC. It depends now on how the ACC feels about 'other similar'. They will probably claim jurisdiction based on that clause. I am surprised there is not a clause in the CCRs as well covering OTA antennas. Also check the CCRs for a 'catch all' clause in there.

BTW, in an unrelated issue, we had a two week discussion over the meaning of the word 'also' in the CCRs. So I wish you luck.
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K8AC
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« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2014, 07:50:24 AM »

Here's some advice from an officer in an HOA.  All of this stuff is open to interpretation and the interpretation will change over time as the officers or board change.  If the board is controlled by a long-time officer who's hell bent on enforcing every nuance of the covenants as he interprets it, it can be tough.  I'd advise you to become familiar with the current officers, their past actions, and READ THE TREASURER's REPORT.  If the HOA bank account is minimal and just meets annual expenses (maintenance of common properties, etc.) with a small buffer, then you can bet that the board is not going to have any interest in legal proceedings.  On the other hand, if the board has an attorney on retainer or has a large annual legal budget and a history of using an attorney to apply pressure to residents, then be prepared to spend a lot of money. 

When I was first elected to the board, I learned that a couple of people in the subdivision had been "forced" to remove their outside TV antennas.  The president I worked with as VP was a retired Federal judge and he had never even heard of the OTARD.  After I explained that to him and showed him the documentation, there were no more actions against outside antennas and I have one myself.  I also have a 60 foot tower with a yagi at the top which is viewed from the street against a backdrop of tall trees.  I painted everything flat black so the antenna and tower blend into the background.  No one has ever said a word about it in 15 years.  In the event it became an issue, I know exactly what the HOA cash reserves are and know that they would be very reluctant to press any issue via legal means. 

At the very least, try and get to know HOA officers and/or the people on the architectural committee.  If you know who the hard-asses are, you can often address things by going to someone else on the HOA board.  If someone tells you that you can't do something, appeal to the board for reconsideration.  Talk to long-time residents of the subdivision and see what you can learn about how the HOA has handled issues like this over time.  Become well-versed on the covenants.  They're usually a difficult read and often even the officers of the HOA haven't read them in detail.  You may be able to work out minor issues by showing that you know the covenants well and can explain why what you want to do does not violate the spirit of the covenants.  If all else fails, get involved and run for office in the HOA.  You won't be able to change the covenants, but then you'll be in a position to influence how they're enforced.  A good example is the meaning of the word "structure" that someone else mentioned.  Some would interpret that as including towers and other antennas, but I interpret it as meaning only houses and other buildings.  Since there's no definition of "structure" in our covenants, there's some leeway there. 

One more thing - dig into the covenants and find out what actions the HOA might take in response to violations of their interpretation of the rules. 

Good luck!

73, Floyd - K8AC
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W0MT
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« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2014, 08:58:29 AM »

Floyd,

I generally agree with the points you raise. However your advice about looking at the HOA’s finances might not work. Many CC&Rs have a provision that says if the HOA takes legal action to enforce and the HOA prevails, the losing homeowner must pay the HOA's legal bills. Of course the homeowner would also have his or her own legal bills to pay. So if the HOA thinks they have a slam-dunk case, they might take legal action even if they are short on funds. And unless the CC&Rs contain a reciprocal provision for the HOA to pay a prevailing homeowner’s legal bills, the legal costs to the winning homeowner could be quite large.

de W0MT, Robert
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K8AC
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« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2014, 10:27:20 AM »

Robert - agreed.  That's why it's also important to know the history of the HOA.  Our HOA has NEVER taken legal action against a resident other than filing liens for unpaid dues.  I recall reading the newsletters from one HOA in a large but distinctly middle class neighborhood, where their yearly legal fees averaged $5,000 and their war chest had $325,000.  Their sales prices appeared to be depressed compared to similar areas - word of their activities is probably spreading.  If one is considering moving into an area and you find that type of info, I strongly suggest running away.  I suspect that the legal costs of any dispute, even if you win, will run into many thousands of dollars.  Hardly anyone ever reads the covenants document they agree to at the home closing and if they read them ahead of time they might not have purchased the property. 
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KG7IEJ
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« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2014, 04:11:42 PM »

Floyd,

Thank you for the advice that makes sense.  I have been talking to a few neighbors and they have said they can be pretty ornery when it comes to overgrown yards but never heard of any issues with neighbors that have antennas.  I talked with one neighbor that has a large TV antenna and he told me they tried to get him to take it down but he showed the HOA documentation on OTARD and they never bothered him since.

Yeah I usually skim the treasury report in our HOA newsletter and they only have around $30k in reserves but the way it works in the neighborhood is if you are doing something the HOA doesn't like they send you a warning letter and then a $25 dollar fine, then $50, etc.  So I am not really worried about being taken to court I will take the antenna down before that happens and figure something else out.

The neighbor I talked to about the large TV antenna said to just tell them it is a TV antenna lol.

Thanks everyone for the good advice.

KG7IEJ
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