Community associations exist to protect the financial value and accommodations of homes and their owners. Covenants and restrictions are in place to provide standards that prevent the depreciation of property values. They also allow homeowners to have a stake in the aesthetic character of their communities. The Amateur Radio Parity Act (H.R. 1301 in the US House of Representatives and S. 1685 in the US Senate) is a Congressional bill that is currently making its way through committee. If passed, this bill could take away control from community associations and affect their ability to regulate the community.
The private land-use restrictions are the backbone of the ability of the Association to enforce it’s standards and govern the community the way in which it’s residents desire. The Amateur Radio Parity Act would infringe on the ability of Community Associations to govern themselves. The bill allows the FCC to extend its limited preemption policy to private land-use restrictions, thereby preempting community association architectural and safety guidelines and rules related to the installation of these antennas.
Community Associations will lose the ability to require prior approval or have uniform rules related to HAM radio towers and antennas. These standards will be replaced with the “reasonable accommodation” standard which allows for no prior approval, safety certification, or restrictions prior to installation.
While the bill does not prohibit a community association review of proposed antenna installations, it does limit the restrictions that an association utilizes to approve or disprove of an installation using factors such as safety and aesthetics. HAM radio operators have been able to set up their radios and antennas in community associations for years. These new regulations are not necessary to ensure the protection of these Amateur Radio communications.
Check with your community association and attorney to get up to date on the HAM radio antenna policy in your community. Contact your local representatives to give your input on this bill and how it will affect your association, and your home.