Satellite Home Viewers Improvement Act Of 1999

Since the early eighties when satellite dishes were 12' or larger in size Cities, Landlords, Home Owners Associations, Neighbors and just plain people with too much time on their hands have tried to restrict, control, and disallow the rights of people to view satellite television.
In Fall of 1999, Congress passed the Satellite Home Viewers Improvement Act of 1999, commonly referred to as SHVIA. You can view the complete text (pdf) of the act here.


The act solved many problems facing the Satellite Dish Industry. Before SHVIA, there were constant court battles over the transmissions of distant networks into markets. It also allowed for satellite content carriers, like DirecTV and Dish Network, to retransmit local channels into local markets. Essentially the rules says, a carrier must carry all local channels in a market if they are going to carry any at all. This assured local broadcaster that satellite carriers would not pick and choose which channels to carry. Of course, the local stations had to agree on a price and in the event that the local station wanted more then normal, the satellite carrier could drop the channel. Sort of a game of Chicken. Sometimes, this results in a carrier dropping a channel.


Prior to the Satellite Viewers Improvement Act, Congress passed the Telecommunications act of 1996. Section 207 addressed Over-The-Air Reception Devices (OTARD). The law was updated in 1999, 2000, and in 2006.


OTARD addressed the often heavy restrictions, and sometimes banning of satellite dishes by landlords, local governments, and Home Owner Associations. OTARD allows landlords to restrict the placement of a satellite dish to the exclusive use area of the tenant. This means the porch, patio or deck. If the Tenant has exclusive use of the yard, then the yard is available for dish placement. The landlord can also require the Tenant not attach to or drill into the building.



Home Owner Associations and local governments are allowed to require a permit be obtained, a fee be charged and even an inspection be performed. However, the fee must be reasonable, the permit process cannot cause un-reasonable delay, and the placement restrictions on a dish cannot be so strict that it prevents the installation. If the only suitable location for the satellite dish is in the front yard, then the installation cannot be stopped. If however, the back yard provides a suitable location, the dish may be required to be located in the back yard or out of sight from the street.


The Satellite Home Viewers Improvement Act applies to Alabama AL , Alaska AK , Arizona AZ , Arkansas AR , California CA , Colorado CO , Connecticut CT , Delaware DE , Florida FL , Georgia GA , Hawaii HI , Idaho ID , Illinois IL , Indiana IN , Iowa IA , Kansas KS , Kentucky KY , Louisiana LA , Maine ME , Maryland MD , Massachusetts MA , Michigan MI , Minnesota MN , Mississippi MS , Missouri MO , Montana MT , Nebraska NE , Nevada NV , New Hampshire NH , New Jersey NJ , New Mexico NM , New York NY , North Carolina NC , North Dakota ND , Ohio OH , Oklahoma OK , Oregon OR , Pennsylvania PA , Rhode Island RI , South Carolina SC , South Dakota SD , Tennessee TN , Texas TX , Utah UT , Vermont VT , Virginia VA , Washington WA DC , West Virginia WV , Wisconsin WI , and Wyoming WY.

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