Fun With Satellite Dishes and Apartment Complexes

If someone went on my patio and… ahem… CHOPPED DOWN MY FUCKING PROPERTY WITH A POWER SAW… I’d be upset. I don’t know what you can expect to sue them for besides cost of replacement, months that you paid your bill but received no service due to the chopping, etc; basically anything you can show a receipt for in small claims. You may then have some option for filing a formal complaint against the apartment management company preventing/enjoining them from taking any such action in the future, such as with a licensing company, etc.

I would also try to take this small claims case to Judge Judy because, seriously, how could the audience not love hearing about this on TV?

The organization behind all this is in obvious and critical disarray. This is why no-one is aware of the content of contracts or, even, relevant law.

Bait them into doing something really stupid.

Bait them into doing something really stupid.

I think you mean something even more stupid then they have already done… cause like dude they already broke the law.

I think the rationale is they can enter your apartment if you are engaged in something that violates the lease or is unlawful. That stupid You! red note was the set up for that.

Isn’t the patio still yours, though? You’re paying to rent it, right? I think climbing up and trespassing on it would be about the same to the cops as breaking into your living room. If I were you, I would really get the cops involved. This isn’t a pure civil matter, because your home was invaded and your property damaged. No way can a lease agreement cover this, either. Well, it could, but you’ve gotta think that it would violate all sorts of state and municipal statutes, and then of course be invalid.

Stick it to 'em, Sal!

Yeah honestly if I got called out to a call like this there would be a number of things you could throw at them. What they did is highly illegal and no matter how you spin it its their bad all around.

What state are you in Sluggo?

Of course, it would make sense if at that point they had contacted me and said “we have notified you that you’re out of compliance, you have not acted, and now we have to.” But I didn’t even get that courtesy.

I went and checked my lease, and while there’s an entire section regarding satellite dishes, there was nothing in there regarding the height of the dish or even a specific position on the patio, which I’m being told is the reason my complex wants to force me to move it. In fact, the entire section in my lease very closely resembled the OTARD rule quoted above: parts about the size of the dish, not overhanging the patio, being fully within an exclusive space, they almost seem quoted verbatim in my lease. It seems they’re just making up the other stuff and expecting people will go along with it since they don’t know any better.

Ultimately, here’s what I think is happening: the company that owns my complex has an exclusive cable deal with a small, local cable provider, which all their local communities use. I am sure they wouldn’t be in this arrangement if it wasn’t financially beneficial to them. Meanwhile, my apartment is right in front of the complex, next to the leasing office, and my dish is probably like a huge advertisement to anyone who comes to check out the place, making people consider options other than the preferred cable provider, and they want it the hell out of there.

I’m in Orange County, CA, btw.

Addendum: The entire day has gone by, and I’ve yet to get a call from the corporate office who reportedly requested this action. I’m seriously considering calling the corporate office back early Thursday, saying “get me someone who can give me some answers or I’m calling the cops.” And I’d do it. My concern is that I don’t want the cops coming down and arresting, say, the poor maintenance guy who’s just caught in the middle.

So, if I call the police and tell them that my apartment has been invaded / vandalized by my leasing office, what happens then? Who do they come after? Can I get them to come with me to the corporate office?

I think you might want to get a free phone consultation with a lawyer. You’re probably past the “have fun stirring the shit” point, and need to get down to business.

Well since you are in CA you really should have called the cops as soon as it happened. Under CA law what they did was really really illegal and you could prolly get them arrested / Cited / who knows.

How much was the Dish? Like the retail value of it including tax.

If it was me going to the call I’d get them on tresspassing and distruction of property. You seriously need to get the cops involved if for the only reason to help back up your court case when you do take it to court. Do not roll over on this and let them fuck you stand up for your rights and fuck them over 10x harder.

Highly possible. People don’t become apartment managers after becomining a CPA, MD, and passing the Bar, yanno?

Ultimately, here’s what I think is happening: the company that owns my complex has an exclusive cable deal with a small, local cable provider, which all their local communities use. I am sure they wouldn’t be in this arrangement if it wasn’t financially beneficial to them. Meanwhile, my apartment is right in front of the complex, next to the leasing office, and my dish is probably like a huge advertisement to anyone who comes to check out the place, making people consider options other than the preferred cable provider, and they want it the hell out of there.

I’m in Orange County, CA, btw.


Hahaha sorry. Seems to me you did your homework, slug. Seriously, free consult with the worstest, slimiest lawyer (I know, REDUNDANT hahaha just kidding Ry/Flowers/etc) and you seriously do have a case either way.

You’d be amazed how many things happen in this world because of that exact circumstance. Only by knowing his rights and pushing back can a guy just maintain his position.

Looks like they are in breach of the lease regarding your dish, committed an illegal entry onto your exclusively leased property (just because its a balcony doesn’t mean it’s a public area), and if they still have your dish, they’ve stolen your property. A police report is probably in order, and in all likelihood, will not result in anyone getting arrested. Having that report will be very important if you want to stand up to these folks.

It’s my theory that it’s the natural career path of the ex-high-school cheerleader. I’ve yet to run across a smart one.

My particular property has been a revolving door of employees since they day I moved in. It’s like a way station for people on their way on the ladder. I’d say there are usually 4-5 people employed at this property at any given moment, and in 7 years, I’d conservatively estimate that we’ve had at least 20 leasing managers and 120 different employees.

Just for fun, while sitting in the leasing office waiting for the manager the other day, I asked the two other people working there how long they’d been in this particular location. Both immediately answered with how long they’d been with the company. When I re-asked my question, the answers came back “2 months” and “2 days.”

Just to clear up something RickH said: they came onto my patio and cut the center support of the tripod that the dish was on, so that they could lower the dish, which they’re claiming was too high. The dish wasn’t removed. I was able to go back onto the patio, re-raise the dish, and re-establish reception. (Holy crap, did that really happen on Lost!?)

I’m not so much interested in calling the cops or threatening legal action as I am in getting a hold of management and working this out like adults. I expect I’ll be moving out soon – if I can get some sort of written account of this event, have them acknowledge that my dish is fine, and and get them to waive any fees they might try to stiff me on when I move out, I’ll consider that enough.

I support your desire to work this out informally and rationally. In my experience with interpersonal conflict, it’s the people who get aggressive, hostile, and vengeful that often appear weaker to third parties, and are less likely to have things resolved to their satisfaction. This doesn’t mean you should back down, of course; it seems the apartment folks were out of line here. I’ve found the “you don’t know who you just fucked with” attitude works better if you are the hero of a TV drama than it does in real life.

I do think you need to take pictures or get some sort of tangible evidence quickly to help support your version of events. Filing a police report would serve this purpose, and contacting a lawyer for his or her opinion wouldn’t hurt. It doesn’t mean you have to sue, but in my experience, tangible evidence/written documentation/etc. is helpful should legal action need to be taken.

What Sidd said. You never seem to get anywhere by taking the high road against fucks like this. I’ve tried this with landlords when I was renting and contractors after I bought a place, and the “be as nasty a prick as you can be, as soon as they try to take advantage of you” rule applies in both cases. The police report would put a lot of pressure on these people to back off and leave you and your TV alone. I know it seems extreme, but sometimes it’s the only way to show that you won’t back down. The cops will likely give the property people a pretty stern warning, or flat-out charge them, which will help in any negotiations that might arise later.

Whoah, back up a second. I apologize if I was unclear, but you may be misunderstanding my position. I’m specifically arguing against being as nasty a prick as you can be. I firmly believe one can be strong and assertive in standing up for oneself without being rude, spiteful or nasty. Documenting everything, inquiring about a police report, and contacting a lawyer for options are all reasonable, even if you end up working something out with the main office. Flying into the rental office red-faced and sputtering that you’ll drag the entire company down in lawsuits for disrespecting you is likely to increase defensiveness, minimize any chance of informal resolution, drag out the time it takes to resolve the process, and increase the chances you’ll temporarily have to deal with high legal bills.

Sidd, I understood your original message, and it pretty much sums up the approach I’ve been taking. :)

IMO (and experience), it’s mostly about what will amount to the least hassle for whomever it is you’re dealing with. If you go apeshit and rocket over their heads to take down The Man Behind the Curtain, the midlevel clowns will let you go nuts (since the fight has essentially passed them by) and TMBtH has forever to wear you down. So, you do what you need to in order to keep your apartment manager in the middle of all of this, so that she’s the one begging Bob at the central office for a favor in dealing with you as opposed to you demanding Bob’s number so you can (impotently) threaten Bob’s job.

My advice is to go to your apartment manager and spell it all out for her with nary a hint of a threatening tone. Show her you’ve got the goods on her and her stupid company. Get her on your side. See if she’ll call up Bob and you guys can conference call, or something. Use her as a means to amicably get to Bob, instead of cutting her out (which will just rebound back to her and every month you remain there will be a pain in the ass - for you). Don’t be rude to Bob, either. Unless he, you know, makes you. It’s like Patrick Swayze said: “Be nice. Until it’s time…to not be nice.”

It usually works for me to come at people like “Welllll, you know, having a maintenance guy come into my patio and destroy equipment I paid for without my permission are acts not covered in the lease agreement I signed, Bob. I don’t see a provision for a mandate that if this complex gets a deal with a cable company, that satellite TV is not allowed, nor did my placement of my dish break the guidelines written for its placement, NORRRRRRRRR is there anything, again, about reserving the right to destroy the dish I paid for in such case. Ask your administrative assistant to get you an Aquafina Bob, because we may be here awhile.”

Or whatever. The deal is to sweet talk your apt mgr into a threeway CALL THAT IS with Bob from the Front Office. Bob will fidget, she will look at your stern grill and being a noodle-spined lady averse to confrontations (even implied ones), she’ll haver to your plight (lacking the ol’ “Well, that’s what those crazy assholes at the Front Office said” dodge), plus Bob can’t volley the blame back into her face (“Well, I can only go on what Ms. Pickletits said, and she said you told her to jump into a grand piano case and garrotte herself on the wire when she asked you nicely to simply move your dish so it’s not obscuring the sign for your complex”) if she’s sitting right there. Usually, you get a smattering of “But I though…” “Well, I thought…” half-assed feigned confusion, and you’ll probably get a partial rent voucher or something. Take it, if it’s equitable. Then get the fuck out of that shithole complex.

Oh, and don’t forget to take a shit in the maintenance guy’s golf cart, that effing ball-licker.

Ever since that car dealer thingy I’ve found respect for Mr. Bill D. If you ever need side work, open up a course on teaching people not to be pushovers. I’d sign up but I suspect it would basically involved being yelled at to grow some cojones.