2014 Rhode Island General Laws
Title 39 - Public Utilities and Carriers
Chapter 39-19 - Community Antenna Television Systems
Section 39-19-10 - Installation of cable television, telephone, telecommunications or information service in multiple dwelling or commercial units.

RI Gen L § 39-19-10 (2014) What's This?

§ 39-19-10 Installation of cable television, telephone, telecommunications or information service in multiple dwelling or commercial units. – Pursuant to the legislative intent that a tenant in a multiple dwelling unit shall have the freedom and right to select the provider of cable television, telephone, telecommunications or information service to their living unit, without any restraints, limitations or conditions imposed by a landlord, and to enable CATV operators or other telephone, telecommunications or information service providers to offer meaningful choices to tenants of multiple dwelling of a commercial units a tenant in a multiple dwelling unit may subscribe to CATV, telephone, telecommunications or information service, subject to the following provisions:

(1) A CATV operator or other telephone, telecommunications or information service provider who affixes or causes to be affixed CATV, telephone, telecommunications or information facilities to the dwelling or commercial unit of a tenant shall (i) do so at no cost to the landlord of the dwelling, (ii) indemnify the landlord for damages, if any, arising from the installation and/or the continued operation thereof, and (iii) not interfere with the safety, functioning, appearance or use of the dwelling or commercial unit, nor interfere with the reasonable rules and regulations of the owner dealing with the day-to-day operations of the property, including the owner's reasonable access rules for soliciting business. Nothing in this subdivision shall prohibit a landlord from contracting with the CATV operator or other telephone, telecommunications or information service provider for work in addition to standard installation.

(2) No CATV operator or landlord shall enter into any agreement with persons owning, leasing, controlling, or managing a building served by a CATV system or perform any act which would directly or indirectly diminish or interfere with the rights of any tenant to use a master or individual antenna system.

(3)(i) A CATV operator or other telephone, telecommunications or information service provider shall have the landlord's consent to affix CATV system facilities which are necessary to either offer or provide service to a tenant's dwelling or commercial unit by delivery to the owner, in person or by certified mail, return receipt requested, of a copy of this section and a signed statement that the CATV operator or other telephone, telecommunications or information service provider will be bound by the terms of this section to the owner or lawful agent of the property upon which the CATV system facilities are to be affixed. A CATV operator or other telephone, telecommunications or information service provider shall be permitted to affix CATV systems facilities pursuant to this subdivision prior to receiving a request for service from a tenant.

(ii) The CATV operator or other service provider shall present and review with the owner prior to any installation, plans and specifications for the installation, and shall abide by reasonable installation requests by the owner. The CATV operator or other telephone, telecommunications or information service provider will inspect the premises with the owner after installation to insure conformance with the plans and specifications. The owner may waive in writing the prior presentation of the plans and specifications. The CATV operator or other telephone, telecommunications or information service provider shall be responsible for the maintenance of any equipment installed on the owner's premises and shall be entitled to reasonable access for maintenance. The CATV operator or other service provider shall also, prior to any installation, provide, upon the request of the owner, a certificate of insurance covering all the employees or agents of the installer, CATV operator or other service provider as well as all equipment of the operator or other telephone, telecommunications or information service provider.

(4) If the owner of any such real estate intends to require the payment of any sum in excess of a nominal amount, herein defined as one dollar ($1.00), in exchange for permitting the installation of CATV, telephone, telecommunications or information system facilities to the dwelling or commercial unit of a tenant, the owner shall notify the CATV operator or other service provider by certified mail, return receipt requested, within twenty (20) days of the date on which the owner is notified that the CATV operator or other telephone, telecommunications or information service provider intends to extend CATV telephone, telecommunications or information system facilities to the dwelling or commercial unit of a tenant of the owner's real estate. Absent such notice, it will be conclusively presumed that the owner will not require payment in excess of the nominal amount specified in this subdivision for the connection.

(5) If the owner gives notice, the owner will, within thirty (30) days after giving notice advise the CATV operator or other service provider in writing of the amount the owner claims as compensation for affixing CATV, telephone, telecommunications or information system facilities to his or her real estate. If within thirty (30) days after receipt of the owner's claim for compensation, the CATV operator or other telephone, telecommunications or information service provider has not agreed to accept the owner's demand, the owner may bring an action in the superior court for the county in which the real estate is located to enforce the owner's claim for compensation. The action shall be brought within six (6) months of the date on which the owner first made a demand upon the CATV operator or other telephone, telecommunications or information service provider for compensation and not thereafter.

(6) It shall be presumed that reasonable compensation therefor shall be the nominal amount, but the presumption may be rebutted and overcome by evidence that the owner has a specific alternative use for the space occupied by CATV or other telephone, telecommunications or information system facilities or equipment, the loss of which shall result in a monetary loss to the owner, or that installation of CATV or other telephone, telecommunications or information system facilities or equipment upon the multiple dwelling or commercial unit will otherwise substantially interfere with the use and occupancy of the unit to an extent which causes a decrease in the resale or rental value of the real estate. In determining the damages to any real estate injured when no part of it is being taken, consideration is to be given only to such injury as is special and peculiar to the real estate, and there shall be deducted therefrom the amount of any benefit to the real estate by reason of the installation of CATV, telephone, telecommunications or information system facilities.

(7) None of the foregoing steps to claim or enforce a demand for compensation in excess of the nominal amount shall impair or delay the right of the CATV operator or other service provider to install, maintain, or remove CATV system facilities to a tenant's dwelling or commercial unit on the real estate. The superior court shall have original jurisdiction to enforce the provisions of this subdivision.

(i) In the event that the superior court determines that any individual or entity has unreasonably interfered with the rights granted to tenants, CATV operators or other service providers as set forth in this subdivision, the superior court may award the party seeking enforcement its reasonable attorney's fees and costs.

(ii) Nothing contained herein shall impair the right of a tenant of a multiple dwelling unit or a CATV operator or other telephone, telecommunications or information service provider to pursue any other remedies which may be available at law or in equity.

(8) It shall be an unfair trade practice under chapter 13.1 of title 6 for any person owning, leasing, or managing any multiple dwelling unit served by a CATV system or other telephone, telecommunications or information service provider to discriminate in rental charges or other charges to tenants based on the tenants' subscription to a CATV, telephone, telecommunications or information service from and after June 25, 1986 or to demand or accept payment, except as provided in this section, for the affixing of CATV, telephone, telecommunications or information facilities to a tenant's dwelling or commercial unit; provided, however, that this subdivision shall not apply to contracts entered into on or before June 25, 1986.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1986, ch. 257, § 1; P.L. 2006, ch. 222, § 1; P.L. 2008, ch. 116, § 1; P.L. 2008, ch. 266, § 1.)

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