Nothing Says ‘Lease Here!’ Like Some Rotting Pumpkins

Last year I made the questionable decision to leave three carved pumpkins on my apartment balcony until late January. Some would call this lazy, but I had a pretty busy winter playing online Family Feud and there just wasn’t time to dispose of them.

The end result was, well, unsavory. My hand went through the first pumpkin when I tried to pick it up, and the second was encased in a thick coat of mold—perhaps its defense mechanism during those harsh winter months.

Add to the mix the Christmas lights I wrapped around the balcony railing that my mother was convinced would lead to my electrocution (something about water and electricity interacting with metal poles—I don’t know, it was over my head) and I was one satellite dish away from The Beverly Hillbillies.

Minor transgressions aside, my balcony has always been fairly tidy. But what about those resident patios that are truly an eyesore? I’m talking discarded furniture, dead-as-a-doorknob plants and delicates hung to dry. Can property managers really manage this part of their community?

Owners have to pick their battles, and many say that while certain blemishes have to be overlooked, atrocious satellite dishes are a real problem. A pumpkin won’t be spotted from the road, but a giant antenna protruding from a balcony is another story.

To prevent such an issue, Independent rental owner (IRO) Greg Guerrero, based in Tulsa, Okla., uses a Satellite Dish & Stick Antenna Addendum on his leases. The addendum dictates how satellite dishes and antennas must be installed and provides penalties for improper installation. Common areas, including outside walls, outside windowsills, roofs, overhangs, common area stairwells, parking lots and fences are all off limits without the owner’s permission. Moldy pumpkins are not mentioned.

Guerrero says the policy ensures that satellite dishes will be placed at a designated location in a clean and neat manner, without any penetrations made into the roof or walls without written permission. A simple frame is often provided that allows more than one dish to be grouped in locations of Guerrero’s choosing—a good way to prevent a random (read: ugly) scattering of dishes on his property.

With satellite dishes under control, owners can begin to focus their attention on other things. Next up: lawn gnomes.

For more on eliminating balcony eyesores, check out the IRO Insider in the January issue of units, which mails Jan. 8.