Building Owner & Tenant Resources

Multi-Dwelling Unit buildings (MDUs) Project

The Office of Cable Communications completed a review and analysis of the state of internet services provided to Seattle's Multi-dwelling unit buildings (MDUs) - apartments and condominiums. The review results were presented at a February 2018 Forum. The Forum included presentations on the best practices for allowing multiple internet service providers (ISPs) to serve multi-family residential buildings.

Click here to watch the Feb 2018 Forum on MDU Internet Access for Property Owners and Managers.

The survey results used in the City's review are available here.

Tenants

Do you live in an apartment or condominium and want to a cable or broadband option that isn't available? Your first step is to let your landlord or condo association know. They may not be aware that you would like more cable or broadband service options.

Whether the landlord/condo association can accommodate your request depends on two primary things:

1. Can your building wiring handle more than one service provider?

  • Many older buildings are limited from having more than one service provider by the quality of the internal wiring and/or the size of the telecommunications room.

2. Does you building owner or condo assoication have an existing contract with a cable operator?

  • The service contracts your landlord/condo association makes with cable providers may also affect which provider is serving the building.
  • If your landlord/condo association say an existing contract is preventing them from letting another cable operator for serving the building, ask them to review the contract to confirm the limitation. 
  • Your landlord might think they can’t allow another provider into the building because the contract includes an “exclusivity clause.”  However, in 2007 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) declared such clauses to be unenforceable. The FCC's action nullified existing exclusive deals between cable companies and MDUs and banned any such clauses going forward, calling them unfair competition. 

Satellite TV Options

Do you want to consider using satellite or antenna TV as an option, but your building owner says that satellite dishes or antenna aren't allowed on the building? You may still be able to have that option.  Under federal law, you have the right to install "Over-the-Air-Reception Devices" (OTARD) as long as it is in an area that is for your exclusive use (like a patio) and completely contained in the exclusive use area (e.g, can't hang out over the edge). 

For more information, see the FCC's Consumer Guide covering tenant rights to install, maintain or use OTARD devices. https://transition.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/consumerdish.pdf

Building Owners

Know Your Rights When Negotiating Cable Service Contracts

Building Owners ~ Property Managers ~ HOA Members

On April 27, 2015, the City hosted nationally recognized cable and telecommunications expert Ken Fellman for an educational seminar on the rights of building owners, property managers and homeowners association members when negotiating cable service contracts for their buildings.

The seminar covered new language in Seattle's Cable Code that relates to service for multiple dwelling unit buildings and helped answer questions like:

  • What happens when your current cable contract expires?
  • How are service contracts and right-of-entry agreements different?
  • Do you have to sign a long-term cable service agreement?
  • Can you negotiate with the cable operator?
  • Who really owns the cable wiring in your building?

Click here to watch the seminar or to view the presentation slides. Click here to listen to a podcast.