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Landlords May Not Ban Satellite Dishes


Question: I have one a ssmall satellite dish, but the owner of my Los Angeles apartment building said that no television satellite dishes will be permitted on the grounds for aesthetic reasons. Is that legal?

Answer: Probably not. In late 1998 the Federal Communications Commission issued a ruling saying that property owners cannot unreasonably prohibit residents from having satellite dishes on "premises that are within the leasehold and under the exclusive use or control of the viewer." Such areas can include balconies, balcony railings, terraces, patios, yards or gardens.

Apparently, this FCC ruling was not communicated to your landlord. You probably will want to do that now.

The FCC order also shows several reasonable limitations that an owner can put on the installation of satellite dishes and antennas. For example, owners may disallow installations on outside walls, roofs, windowsills, common-area balconies and stairwells. OProperty owners also can demand indemnification liability and insurance.

Disabled and Evicted: L.A. Offers Assistance

Q: The Los Angeles property in which I live includes a duplex and a small single-family home in the back. I live in the duplex.

The new owners have bought the property and they tell me that I must move out because they want to move in. tA friend says that when I get a formal 30-day notice, there is a city housing agency that can help me get $5,000 in relocation assistance in the amount of $5,000 because I am disabled. Is that true?

A: Duplexes in GL.A. generally are covered by the city's rent control law. If your duplex is under rent control, the relocation provisions of the law apply to you.

Unless your duplex has an exemption from the law as new construction (first cCertificate of oOccupancy issued after Oct. 1, 1978), or because it had "luxury" rents at the time the law was passed or underwent extensive remodeling, as defined by the ordinance, it probably is covered by the law.

Under the law, seniors, defined as 62 years or older, disabled, as defined in Title 42 United States Code Section 423, and those with minor dependent children in residence, as determined for federal income tax purposes, are entitled to $5,000 per tenancy. Others get $2,000 per tenancy.

The housing agency to which you refer is the Los Angeles Housing Department, Rent Stabilization Division. For more information, call (213) 367-9099.

Think Twice About Adding Wood Floor

Q: My husband and I rent a house in the San Fernando Valley. It has hardwood floors throughout except iin the kitchen and two bathrooms. My father-in-law installs hardwood floors for a living, and he offered to do the kitchen and baths with some wood he has left over from a job.

Because we would not have to pay for materials or labor, what would be an appropriate way of asking for one month's rent reduction and would that be fair? My father-in-law says the job would cost a client about $1,750. We pay $1,400 a month for rent.

A: Before you ask for a rent credit to install these floors, you must first determine whether the owner will allow you to put hardwood in the kitchen and bathrooms. Most rental agreements prohibit permanent alterations to the premises without written permission.

Because hardwood does not respond well to water, many owners won't allow hardwood in these rooms. Persuading the owner to allow this installation could be a hard sell. Also, hardwood floor maintenance is expensive.

If I were you, I might rethink this strategy. If your landlord is hesitant about allowing it, perhaps seeking a half-month's rent credit would tempt the owner enough to allow the installation.

North Hollywood Shares Rent Controls?

Q: I live in North Hollywood. I've calledAfter numerous phone calls to city and county agencies and cChambers of cCommerce, but no one can tell me which parts of the vast San Fernando Valley are under the city of Los Angeles' rent control law.

Can you help? Also, how often and by how much can my landlord raise the rent if I am under rent control?

A: North Hollywood is a part of the city of L.A. city, whose rent control law limits general increases to 3% once a year. Additional increases are sometimes allowed for things such as capital improvements.

However, not all rental units in the city are covered by the law. Your building, or unit, could be exempt from the rent control law.

To find out if your unit is covered by the law, you can phone the registration department of Los Angeles' Rent Stabilization Division at (213) 367-9136. If your unit is exempt from rent control, the owner can raise the rent to the market level with a 30-day notice.


If your unit is exempt from rent control, the owner can raise the rent to the market level with a 30-day notice. Postema is the editor of Apartment Age magazine, a publication of AAGLA, an apartment owners' service group. Mail your questions on any aspect of apartment living to AAGLA, 12012 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025.

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