Long gone are the days where an evening’s entertainment is confined to only four channels. With thousands of channels offering unlimited options, it is no surprise that many tenants are keen to have satellite tv options installed in their rental properties.

So, if a renter requests a satellite service, what should a landlord say? After all, with satellite dishes adorning the roof and cabling snaking through the inside, installing entertainment isn’t always a simple job. 

On the flip side, once the components are in place to receive satellite services they will remain in situ even after the current tenant leaves and this can be a real selling point for future tenants, who wouldn’t have to worry about arranging installation themselves!

Getting appropriate permissions

Any permanent changes that a tenant wants to make to a rental property should of course be ok’d by the landlord, and having satellite TV fitted should be no different.

Whether the subscription requires the installation of a dish or just internal cabling, changes are required to be made to the property, and as such it is important that the landlord gives their full approval before the tenant proceeds.

As well as being good rental practice, there are certain elements of an installation that a tenant may not have considered – failing to tick all of the correct boxes before pressing ahead could leave the property owner in trouble!

For example, if the landlord is a leaseholder, they may have to get the permission of the freeholder before making changes to the exterior of the property. This could mean reaching out for permission for a tenant to erect a satellite dish. On the flip side, there may be strict rules in place over whether dishes are allowed at all, they may be deemed to infringe on common areas of the property (the exterior) and be against the rules. Installing one dish could break the terms of a landlord’s lease.

Even if the property isn’t bound by a leasehold agreement, there are other potential pitfalls to consider. Blocks of flats often have limits to how many dishes are allowed (more on managing this below) and listed buildings are unlikely to be granted planning permission to erect a dish.

If you are unsure if your property is bound by any planning permission regulations, clear guidelines are available in the Householders Guide to Antennas and the Government’s Planning Portal.

Is there a chance of damage?

If your tenant is having a reputable organisation carry out the satellite dish installation, there should be no major concerns about damage.

The installer will attend the property and assess the best location for the dish, and any internal cabling. The dish installation will require a hole to be drilled through the property’s external wall to allow a cable to be passed through, and then the dish will be mounted onto the external wall. The engineer will position the dish to be angled to pick up the satellites required to access the service – usually this is south facing. The dish will be positioned in a location that it can be accessed for maintenance, if needed. Depending on the location of the dish, the installer may need to drill a hole in the external wall to secure their ladders, however all holes will be made good.

Ask to be present during the installation so you are able to query any issues you have a concern over. If there are any problems with damage, raise them with the service provider. Sky have an Engineer Complaints Department and if a complaint is made a manager will be sent out to review the situation and resolve it. It is worth noting that Sky does use third party engineers for communal set ups and work higher than first floors.

With a dish in situ, it is advisable to add the dish to your list of points to check when you carry out your maintenance checks on the property – they can be sensitive to high winds, so make sure you keep an eye on it if the weather takes a turn! If your property is overseen by a letting agent or property management agent, be sure to let them know that it has been installed and should be monitored.

Tenancy agreements

If there are any strong elements one way or another regarding the installation of satellite tv services, it is wise to include details in the tenancy agreement, so that your tenant is aware of the situation from the start of the process. This would be a reasonable restriction, if it was made clear from the start. 

If the property’s permissions prohibit the installation of a satellite dish, consider including a clause in the agreement specifically prohibiting them. Most agreements include a general clause prohibiting changes to the property without consent, however it is wise to be very clear if there is a specific issue, such as the potential breach of a leasehold.

If a tenant chooses to ignore this clause, they are in breach of the rental agreement and the landlord would have options with regards to how to proceed.  Eviction proceedings could be started, using a Section 8 notice using ground 12 (Breach of tenancy obligation) or a Section 21 no-fault notice. The Section 8 notice has a two-week notice period, but is a discretionary ground, meaning its success is down to a Judge’s decision. With this in mind, if eviction is the end goal, a Section 21 no-fault notice, with a two-month notice period, is a more reliable option.

If the issue is not quite so severe as to want to evict tenants, but damage has been caused in the installation of the dish, it is possible to highlight this to a deposit protection scheme at the end of the tenancy. Rectifying the issue may require remedial work, the cost of which can be recovered from the tenant’s security deposit.

Alternative options

Before worrying too much about the impact of a satellite dish on the aesthetic of your property, you could look into the possibility of ‘dishless’ options instead.

Sky provide the Sky Q option which is able to be installed without a dish – instead being delivered through a box via a broadband connection. Virgin Media is delivered through cable, which prevents the need for a dish – however this isn’t available everywhere, so make sure to check.

Stoptober, Public Health England’s 28-day campaign to encourage people to to give up smoking for the duration of October is well underway.

This nationwide campaign has seen over one million people attempt to stub out the habit, taking action on smoking and health, and is the biggest mass attempt to quit in the country.  

All this is great news for landlords. A whopping 53.6% of smokers in the UK rent within private or housing association properties, however only 7% of private landlords are open to letting their tenants light up – so there’s a serious issue burning away in the sector.

Can you stop a tenant smoking in a property?

Including a clause in a tenancy agreement stating that no smoking is allowed in the property would make it very clear that this behaviour is not acceptable under the terms of the lease, and that the tenant is acting outside of the terms that have been agreed to. It would be possible at this stage to terminate the lease based on breach of contract via a Section 8 notice.

However, landlords are under an implied obligation to allow their tenant quiet enjoyment of the property, meaning a landlord must not interfere (or allow anyone else to interfere) with the tenant’s enjoyment of the property. It could be considered that if a tenant is a smoker, not being able to smoke in peace in their property could be a breach of their quiet enjoyment of the property. At this stage, it would be down to the discretion of the judge to decide who was the party in the right.  

With this in mind, it is worth considering that if by the stage that these new developments have come to light, the damage may already have been done. If a tenant has already been smoking in the property, the smell – often the worst element – will already be present. Rather than going through the process of eviction which can be costly and drawn out, you could consider choosing not to renew the contract at the end of the term, and instead spend the money on a spruce up of the property when the tenant has left.

How is vaping different to smoking?

Over 2.3 million adults in the UK already ‘vape’, and with many people moving away from cigarette smoking and onto vaping kits, it’s likely that the question of whether or not to allow electronic cigarettes or vaping is one that could be faced by many landlords.

The potential damage caused by cigarette burns and the lingering cigarette smoke smell are often key reasons cited for landlords not wanting to allow smoking in their property. Damage from nicotine build up on walls and ceilings from smoke and ash are others. Vaping theoretically removes these issues, but should it carry the same rules?

A cigarette, cigar or pipe requires a flame to burn to be smoked, an e-cigarette or vape is powered by a rechargeable battery, and uses liquid nicotine to produce a mist, or ‘vapor’ which is then inhaled. Although vaping produces a cloud of vapor once dispersed this leaves no trace, unlike smoking.

Choosing whether to allow your tenants to vape is a personal choice, however, unlike smoking it is likely to be very tricky to detect if they are doing so in your property unless they come clean about it. If your tenant is open about their vaping habit, you could choose to include a banning clause in the tenancy agreement– although this is likely to be near impossible to enforce. Alternatively, you could allow vaping, but refer to the ‘no smoking’ clause in the tenancy agreement, and reiterate that vaping and the use of electronic cigarettes are acceptable, but a smoking ban is still in place.

What if you have more than one tenant?

If your property has any Common Parts (the shared areas of a property shared by multiple indiviual tenants – kitchens, bathrooms, toilets, staircases, entrances etc) you must be significantly stricter about enforcing a smoking ban in your property. This is because your property is directly affected by the National Smoke Free Legislation, the same law that impacts our workplaces, cafes, bars and pubs, and your tenants are protected from the health risk of second hand smoke. There are no vaping guidelines within this remit.

Not only is smoking not allowed in these areas, but signs and documentation must be displayed to comply with the regulations. Downloadable copies of the official template signs are available here. Your local authority will have an appointed smoke free officer who can assist with any queries on how to modify your property to comply with the smoke free legislation.

Howsy’s Top Tips for dealing with this burning issue:

  • When advertising for a prospective tenant, specify non-smoking only
  • Include a clause in your tenancy agreement that smoking/vaping in the property is not permitted
  • Reiterate your feelings when you meet with your tenant, and explain your reasons
  • Ensure that all of your insurance policies accurately reflect your tenant’s habits – update if necessary
  • If you have shared areas, make sure ‘No Smoking’ signs are clearly displayed