General Question

EnzoX24's avatar

Can they stop us?

Asked by EnzoX24 (1986points) September 28th, 2008

My girlfriend has been forced to use this shoddy (not to mention shady) internet provider in her apartment. She’s had the modem replaced twice and it looks like its due for another one. All of this since the beginning of July. She’s contacted her landlord and she told my girlfriend she is not allowed to switch to Comcast or Verizon. We did some digging and it turns out the corporation that owns the apartment complex owns the internet service. The only ares that use the service are the apartments and a group of townhomes nearby, also run by the same corporation.

After being told multiple times by the landlord we cannot chance internet providers, we decided to check the lease. Now where does it say we need to use their services. The only thing it says we can’t do is intall an antenna or satellite dish. After considering the lease and everything they told us, can they technically stop us from using a different internet provider?

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24 Answers

JackAdams's avatar

No.

They cannot stop you from using any Internet provider you wish to use, as long as you are certain that the lease does not specifically address Internet connections.

Inform them via your attorney that you will connect to the Internet, any way you God-damn-well please.

Tell them to do their objecting in a court of law.

You may quote me.

EnzoX24's avatar

We aren’t exactly wealthy enough to afford a lawyer, but from everything we’re putting together it doesn’t seem like there is much standing in our way.

osullivanbr's avatar

I agree with Jack to a degree. They can’t force you if it’s not stated in your lease. However, they can make sure you aren’t going to hanging around after your lease is up. Would that be OK with you?

Anyway, worst comes to the worst, Jack can represent you in court, he’d love a good argument, eh Jack.

JackAdams's avatar

If Internet connections are not mentioned in your lease, then there is nothing standing in your way.

Tell them to flake off.

EnzoX24's avatar

no thats fine with us. im just living her because my school rents these apartments out to people that go to my school

EnzoX24's avatar

all it says is we can’t have antennas or satellite dishes.

JackAdams's avatar

osullivanbr: No need for me to go to court with them.

I’ll just make a few phone calls to some buddies of mine who live in Newark, and after they got done having “a talk” with their landlord, the gals might not have to pay any rent, at all.

osullivanbr's avatar

Well then go for it my friend. If you want to be absolutely certain and cover yourself then contact a citizens advice bereau or something similar and when they tell you the same as we have you can tell your landlord that you have seeked advise regarding the situation and were advised as such.

Or, have Jack’s buddies have “a talk”. Either way would work to be honest.

JackAdams's avatar

By the way, there is a law now, in most states, that says that a landlord cannot prohibit the installation of satellite dishes.

This law came about, because the satellite dish companies complained to the state legislatures that prohibiting the installation and operation of satellite dishes, gave an unfair advantage to cable TV and Cable Internet franchisees.

So check to see if the law is on your side, regarding the installation and operation of a satellite dish antenna.

JackAdams's avatar

Just remember these words, always, ladies:

“You can accomplish so much more with a kind word and a gun, than with just a kind word.”

—Alphonse Capone (1899–1947) Used Furniture Dealer

syz's avatar

If you are in school, most colleges have some sort of legal aid service available to students. Check with them. They may be willing to send an official letter.

PupnTaco's avatar

Under the terms of the lease, are you allowed to modify or install any kind of wiring in this building?

EnzoX24's avatar

It says nothing about wiring. And yeah, I’ll check with my college to see if there is a legal advise center. My college does have a fairly big law school.

EnzoX24's avatar

I checked the internet and I can’t seem to find if the law is enforced in PA. Does anyone know the name of the law?

JackAdams's avatar

I’ll check and get back to you.

FiRE_MaN's avatar

no they cant. but i would just move to another apartment instead of going to court..

JackAdams's avatar

Moving to another apartment may not be all that easy, if you have to break a lease, because breaking a lease can adversely affect your credit rating, if you are not careful how you do it.

FiRE_MaN's avatar

ohh.. i do not know to much about apartments, im only 16 Dx.

JackAdams's avatar

As promised, here are the relevant PA statutes, regarding CATV systems in a landlord-tenant environment:

The webpage where these appear, is here

Title 68; REAL AND PERSONAL PROPERTY
CHAPTER 8. LANDLORD AND TENANT.

ARTICLE V-B. TENANTS’ RIGHTS TO CABLE TELEVISION
§250.501-B. Definitions
§250.502-B. Tenants protected.
§250.503-B. Tenants’ rights.
§250.504-B. Right to render services; notices.
§250.505-B. Compensation for physical damage.
§250.506-B.Compensation for loss of value.
§250.507-B. Venue.
§250.508-B. Alternative service.
§250.509-B. Compliance with requirements for historical buildings.
§250.510-B. Existing CATV services protected.

—————————————————————————

§250.501-B. Definitions
As used in this article-

“CATV system” or “cable television system” shall include a system or facility or part thereof which consists of a set of transmission paths and associated signal generation, reception, amplification and control equipment which is operated or intended to be operated to perform the service of receiving and amplifying and distributing and redistributing signals broadcast or transmitted by one or more television or radio stations or information distribution service companies, including, but not limited to, the cable communications system owner, operator or manager itself, to subscribers. The term shall include the service of distributing any video, audio, digital, light or audio-video signals whether broadcast or otherwise.
“Holding a franchise” shall include obtaining municipal consent to or approval of the construction or operation of a CATV system and the rendering of CATV services whether granted by resolution, ordinance or written agreement. The term shall include a person who has constructed and is operating a CATV system within the public right-of-way of a municipality which, at the time of construction and initial operation of such CATV system, did not require that municipal consent be obtained.
“Landlord” shall include an individual or entity owning, controlling, leasing, operating or managing multiple dwelling premises.
“Multiple dwelling premises” shall include any area occupied by dwelling units, apurtenances thereto, grounds and facilities, which dwelling units are intended or designed to be occupied or leased for occupation, or actually occupied, as individual homes or residences for three or more households. The term shall include mobile home parks.
“Operator” shall include the operator of a CATV system holding a franchise granted by the municipality or municipalities in which the multiple dwelling premises to be served is located.

§250.502-B. Tenants protected.
A landlord may not discriminate in rental or other charges between tenants who subscribe to the services of a CATV system and those who do not. The landlord may, however, require reasonable compensation in exchange for a permanent taking of his property resulting from the installation of CATV system facilities within and upon his multiple dwelling premises, to be paid by an operator. The compensation shall be determined in accordance with this article.

§250.503-B. Tenants’ rights.
The tenant has the right to request and receive CATV services from an operator or a landlord provided that there has been an agreement between a landlord and an operator through the negotiation process oulined in section 504-B or through a ruling of an arbitrator as provided for in this article. A landlord may not prohibit or otherwise prevent a tenant from requesting or acquiring CATV services from an operator of the tenant’s choice provided that there has been an agreement between a landlord and an operator through the negotiation process outlined in section 504-B or through a ruling of an arbitrator as provided for in this article. A landlord may not prevent an operator from entering such premises for the purposes of constructing, reconstructing, installing, servicing or repairing CATV system facilities or maintaining CATV services if a tenant of a multiple dwelling premises has requested such CATV services and if the operator complies with this article. The operator shall retain ownership of all wiring and equipment used in any installation or upgrade of a CATV system in multiple dwelling premises. An operator shall not provide CATV service to an individual dwelling unit unless permission has been given by or received from the tenant occupying the unit.

§250.504-B. Right to render services; notices.
If a tenant of a multiple dwelling premises requests an operator to provide CATV services and if the operator decides that it will provide such services, the operator shall so notify the landlord in writing within ten days after the operator decides to provide such service. If the operator fails to provide such notice, then the tenant’s request shall be terminated. If the operator agrees to provide said CATV services, then a forty-five day period of negotiation between the landlord and the operator shall be commenced. This original notice shall state as follows: “The landlord, tenants and operators have rights granted under Article V-B of the act of April 6, 1951 (P.L. 69, No. 20), known as ‘The Landlord and Tenant Act of 1951.’” The original notice shall be accompanied by a proposal outlining the nature of the work to be performed and including an offer of compensation for loss in value of property given in exchange for the permanent installation of CATV system facilities. The proposal also shall include a statement that the operator is liable to the landlord for any physical damage, shall set forth the means by which the operator will comply with the installation requirements of the landlord pursuant to section 505-B and shall state the time period for installation and security to be provided. The landlord may waive his right to security at any time in the negotiation process.

During the forty-five day period, the landlord and the operator will attempt to reach an agreement concerning the terms upon which CATV services shall be provided. If, within the forty-five day period or at any time thereafter, the proposal results in an agreement between the landlord and the operator, CATV services shall be provided in accordance with the agreement. If, at the end of the forty-five day period, the proposal does not result in an agreement between the landlord and the operator, then this article shall apply. The right of a tenant to receive CATV service from an operator of his choice may not be delayed beyond the forty-five day period contained in the original notice or otherwise impaired unless the matter proceeds to arbitration or court as provided in this article. An operator may bring a civil action to enforce the right of CATV services installation given under this article.

§250.505-B. Compensation for physical damage.
An operator shall be liable to the landlord for any physical damage caused by the installation, operation or removal of CATV system facilities. A landlord may require that the installation of cable television facilities conform to such reasonable conditions as are necessary to protect the safety, functioning and appearance of the premises and the convenience and well-being of tenants. A landlord may also require that the installation of cable television facilities conforms to reasonable requirements as to the location of main cable connections to the premises, the routing of cable lines through the premises and the overall appearance of the finished installation. To the extent possible, the location of the entry of a main cable connection to the premises of public utility connections. A second or subsequent installation of cable television facilities, if any, shall conform to such reasonable requirements in such a way as to minimize further physical intrusion to or through the premises.

§250.506-B.Compensation for loss of value.
(a) A landlord shall be entitled to just compensation from the operator resulting from loss in value of property resulting from the permanent installation of CATV system facilities on the premises.

(b) If a landlord believes that the loss in value of the property exceeds the compensation contained in the proposal accompanying the original notice or believes that the terms involving the work to be performed contained in the proposal are unreasonable, or both, the issue of just compensation or reasonableness of terms shall be determined in accordance with the following procedure:

At any time prior to the end of the forty-five day period from the date when the landlord receives the original notice that the operator intends to construct or install a CATV system facility in multiple dwelling premises, the landlord shall serve upon the operator written notice that the landlord demands a greater amount of compensation or believes that the terms involving the work to be performed are unreasonable.
If the operator is dissatisfied with the result of the negotiations at the conclusion of the forty-five day negotiation period, then he shall notify the landlord of the terms which the operator believes to be unreasonable and shall accompany this notice with a formal request for arbitration.
Arbitration proceedings shall be conducted in accordance with the procedures of the American Arbitration Association or any successor thereto. The proceedings shall be held in the county in which the multiple dwelling premises or part thereof are located. Requirements of this act relating to time, presumptions and compensation for loss of value shall apply in the proceedings. The cost of the proceedings shall be shared equally by the landlord and the operator. The arbitration proceedings, once commenced, shall be concluded and a written decision by the arbitrator shall be rendered within fourteen days of commencement. Judgment upon any award may be entered in any court having jurisdiction.
Within thirty days of the date of the notice of the decision of the arbitrators, either party may appeal the decision of the arbitrators in a court of common pleas, regarding the amount awarded as compensation for loss of value or for physical damages to the property. During the pendency of an appeal, the operator may not enter the multiple dwelling premises to provide CATV services, except as to those units that have existing CATV services. The court shall order each party to pay one-half of the arbitration costs.

(c) In determining reasonable compensation, evidence that a landlord has a specific alternative use for the space occupied or to be occupied by CATV system facilities, the loss of which will result in a monetary loss to the owner, or that installation of CATV system facilities upon such multiple dwelling premises will otherwise substantially interfere with the use and occupancy of such premises to an extent which causes a decrease in the resale or rental value thereof shall be considered. In determining the damages to any landlord in an action under this section, compensation shall be measured by the loss in value of the landlord’s property. An amount representing increase in value of the property occurring by reason of the installation of CATV system facilities shall be deducted from the compensation.

(d) The time periods set forth in this section may be extended by mutual agreement between the landlord and the operator.

§250.507-B. Venue.
The court of common pleas of the county in which the multiple dwelling premises or part thereof is located shall have venue of all actions to enforce the provisions of this article or to hear any appeal from the award of arbitrators or any dispute between the parties.

§250.508-B. Alternative service.
Nothing in this act shall preclude a landlord from offering alternative CATV services to tenants provided that the provisions of this article are not violated.

§250.509-B. Compliance with requirements for historical buildings.
The operator shall comply with all Federal, State or local statutes, rules, regulations or ordinances with respect to buildings located in historical districts.

§250.510-B. Existing CATV services protected.
CATV services being provided to tenants in multiple dwelling premises on the effective date of this act may not be prohibited or otherwise prevented so long as the tenant in an individual dwelling unit continues to request such services.

tocutetolive90's avatar

does all that lawyer talk means its illegal to make us have ispeed?

JackAdams's avatar

Ask a lawyer.

JackAdams's avatar

Is this article about YOUR landlord?

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