Fine Against Installing Satellite Dish at Condos

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Korean-Americans are increasingly becoming subject to heavy fines for installing satellite television dishes at their condominium units.

As more Koreans are subscribing to satellite television in recent years, many of them still remain unaware of the regulations at their residential properties. The negligence has led them to either install the dishes in their balconies unknowingly, or simply leaving the dishes there even after terminating their satellite television contracts.

Recently, Norwalk resident Yoon-sung Choi, 41, was fined $480 from the Home Owners Association for violating the regulation regarding the satellite dish. Even though Choi asked for an exemption, his request was not accepted.

“Even when I contacted the satellite television company, they simply told me that it’s my fault for not being aware of the regulation at my condo,” Choi said. “HOA also kept telling me that I’ve violated the regulation. The fine ended up becoming more expensive than the monthly fee I paid for satellite TV subscription.”

Some cases have included new tenants who moved into units that already had the satellite dishes installed by the previous owner.

“There was an antenna on the roof when I first moved in,” said Yeon-su Kim, 49. “I left it there as I wasn’t the one who installed it, but HOA came to remove it. Suddenly, they requested that I pay $800 for the cost it took to remove the antenna as well as violating the regulation. I’m currently in the process of contesting the fine.”

Tenants are encouraged to review the HOA regulations carefully when moving into a new home. The best way to avoid it is to read HOA’s Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions handbook.

The satellite television providers’ unclear regulations are also creating confusion among consumers.

“Installing the dish has to be done by a trained employee as it requires an understanding of how the wavelengths work,” said an employee at a satellite television company. “This is when the customer must tell the employee about the HOA regulations. When removing the dish after terminating the TV contract, it’s better to simply call a handyman, because calling one of our employees would be more expensive.”

Meanwhile, an estimate of about 40,000 Korean-Americans are currently subscribing to various satellite or cable television contracts.

By Yeol Jang