Q. I am the owner of a condo in Toronto and have been contacted in writing by the Board of Directors that I must remove the small TV satellite dish from my balcony as they are against the rules of the condo corp. The dish is actually not mounted to the wall and is under a chair covered in a plastic bag and cannot be seen from the street. Why should I be forced to remove an item from my balcony that provides me with a great deal of entertainment and isn’t a hindrance to anyone’s sight lines or the overall look of the building?

A. You raise a few interesting issues. The first is that condo rules are often instituted to maintain the consistency of the overall ascetics of the building such as only white window coverings or no barbecues on balconies (aside from the smoke rising into your neighbour’s balcony). These rules are almost across the board for most condos and are contained in the documents you receive when you purchase the condo. Your situation does not necessarily fall into this category because you say that your satellite dish is concealed (I have no idea how satellite technology works but I find it hard to believe that a dish under a chair in a plastic bag would get good reception?).

A second consideration that a lot of condo owners do not remember is that often they do not own the balcony: It is what is known as exclusive use property by the corporation (the owner of the adjoining unit has use of the space but does not have absolute control of the space). Condo boards can and will pass rules that restrict what is placed on the balcony from the flooring to the candle holders on the wall. You need to consult the rules and the board members to make sure you are not violating any of these rules. These rules can be changed but only by the board and probably not by just one voice who wants a satellite dish.

– Jeffrey D. Cowan is with Cowan & Taylor, Barristers & Solicitors. The info in this article should not be relied upon as legal advice.