Although the Davis-Stirling Act (Civ. Code §4725) addresses satellite dishes, it has been preempted almost entirely by the Federal Telecommunications Act. As the California Law Revision Commission Memorandum 2008-43 points out, “Regulations of the Federal Communications Commission long ago superseded all conflicting provisions in the state’s satellite dish and antenna law for common CIDs, found at Section 1376. Despite being preempted in all but possibly one remaining provision of Section 1376, the proposed new Act retains current state law. Much misinformation results from this interplay of federal and state law and should be clarified.”
Camouflage. Associations can require owners to camouflage their antennas so they blend into the background, provided it does not interfere with reception or impose unreasonable costs. This includes painting the antennas and screening or landscaping around antennas.
Number of Antennas. Associations cannot restrict multiple antennas if more than one is necessary to receive the desired service.
Other Antennas. Associations can prohibit other kinds of antennas that are not designed to receive television signals such as radio antennas, citizen band towers and/or parabolic dishes that receive or transmit signals other than television signals.
Safety. Associations may adopt clearly-defined, safety restrictions, even if they impair installation, maintenance or use, provided they are necessary to protect public safety and are no more burdensome than necessary to ensure safety.
Central Antenna. Under some circumstances where a central or common antenna is available, an association may restrict the installation of individual antennas.
Reasonable Restrictions. Associations may always adopt and enforce rules to require owners to provide for repair and maintenance of roofs, exterior walls, or similar components due to installing an antenna or dish, and also to require indemnification against any loss or damage arising from the installation. Associations can always require prior notice, but prior approval through the architectural process is only allowed for installations that are not within exclusive use areas, and even then, the process must move quickly to avoid unreasonable delays.
ASSISTANCE: Associations needing legal assistance can contact us. To stay current with issues affecting community associations, subscribe to the Davis-Stirling Newsletter.