Antenna law: how to install the satellite dish without problems in a condominium


Emma Potter

Installing a satellite dish on the balcony of your home often raises questions regarding the need to obtain the consent of the entire condominium. This issue is part of the broader debate on the “antenna right”, a constitutional principle that guarantees every citizen the right to information.

But how does this right fit into the context of condominium regulations? Is it possible to proceed with the installation of a satellite dish independently without running into legal disputes or the need for unanimous consent?

We clarify the most common doubts regarding the installation of satellite dishes in condominium environments, providing a detailed analysis of the regulations in force and the relevant sentences issued by the Court of Cassation.

Autonomy in installation: regulatory and practical framework

Based on the principle of “antenna right”, it is stated that the installation of a satellite dish on the balcony or in other parts of the building intended for private use does not require the consent of the condominium. This provision aims to guarantee the right to informationconsidering the satellite dish a fundamental tool for accessing television broadcasts, in particular those in digital terrestrial or via satellite.

The legislation provides that the common parts of the building (such as roofs, external facades, non-exclusive property terraces, etc.) can be used for the installation of antennas, as long as this is done in compliance with the architectural decor and does not cause damage or alterations. significant to the structure or aesthetics of the building.

Additionally, any expenses related to installation or compensation for accidental damage falls on the condominium owner concernedwho must act in such a way as to minimize the impact on the building and other condominiums.

Despite the possibility of proceeding independently, prior communication to the condominium administrator is recommended, especially to evaluate the possible impact of the installation on the common areas. This step, although not mandatory in cases of minimal impact, facilitates the transparent management of changes and prevents possible disputes.

When the installation directly affects the common areasmodifying its appearance or structure, it becomes essential to inform the administrator and, depending on the case, obtain the consent of the condominium assembly.

The law provides specific procedures to ensure that such installations do not compromise the stability, safety or aesthetics of the building, requiring assembly resolutions that respect certain majorities.

The condominium's consent: when it is necessary

There are specific circumstances in which the installation of a satellite dish requires the explicit consent of the condominium. This need arises mainly when the installation involves interventions on the common areas that go beyond a minimal or negligible impact, or when it is necessary to access the property of other condominiums for the execution of the works.

In particular, theaccess to other people's propertyi for the installation of cables or other devices necessary for the functioning of the dish represents one of the most delicate situations. The law protects the right to install the antenna, but at the same time requires respect for private property.

In these cases, the condominium owner concerned must obtain authorization from the owner of the real estate unit concerned. This authorization is not only mandatory but must be granted, unless there are legitimate and concrete reasons for refusing it, since the legislator recognizes the right of every individual to information and, consequently, to the installation of reception systems such as satellite dishes.

This legislation is part of a broader framework of balancing individual rights and the protection of common interests. The guiding principle is that of “normal tolerability”, a legal concept that seeks to harmonize the needs of individual condominiums with those of the community, promoting solutions that minimize inconvenience and facilitate harmonious cohabitation within the condominium.

Furthermore, in cases of installations that are particularly invasive or potentially harmful to the building or architectural decoration, the condominium assembly plays a decisive role.

The assembly decisions, in fact, can outline less impactful installation methods or establish compensation for any damage. However, according to the rulings of the Court of Cassation, the assembly cannot a priori oppose the installation of the satellite dish if there are no valid reasons linked to the prejudice of the common areas or the decorum of the building.

Installing the antenna on other people's balconies: rules and sentences

A particularly delicate issue concerns the possibility of installing a satellite dish on someone else's balcony or terrace. This situation occurs when a condominium owner, without adequate space of his own for the installation, asks to use parts of the building that are the exclusive property of others.

Jurisprudence, in particular the Court of Cassation (sentence number 16865 of 2017), has addressed this issue, providing useful guidelines for managing such requests.

The most significant sentences on the matter clarify that the installation of an antenna on someone else's property can be considered lawful only under specific conditions. First of all, it must be demonstrated thatabsence of viable alternatives which allow the applicant to install the antenna in spaces owned by him or, in any case, not the exclusive property of others.

Furthermore, the installation must take place in compliance with the rights of the owner of the area on which it is intended to operate, guaranteeing the least possible inconvenience and respecting the decorum of the building.

Legislation and jurisprudence therefore tend to promote a compromise solution, evaluating the feasibility and acceptability of the installation on a case-by-case basis.

The principle of subsidiarity in the use of other people's spaces is fundamental: installation on parts of the exclusive property of other condominiums is permitted only when there are no practicable alternatives that allow the applicant to enjoy the right to information.