Following a landmark ruling in the European Court of Human Rights, a family in Sweden won the right to add a satellite TV dish to their rented home after the landlord declined permission.
The family complained the landlord’s failure to agree to their request violated their human rights because they didn’t have the right to receive information.
The landlord was also ordered to pay the tenants £12,280 compensation.
The EU judges agreed with their argument and the case assures landlords across Europe must now let tenants add satellite dishes to their homes, regardless of any clauses in tenancy agreements forbidding alterations to a property without permission.
Housing minister Grant Shapps commented the ruling would drive a ‘coach and horses’ through UK planning legislation.
UK planning rules restrict the number, position and size of satellite dishes on buildings – especially in conservation areas and on listed buildings.
In response to the statement from Mr Shapps, the Equality and Human Rights Commission explained the ruling does not give tenants a right to receive satellite TV.
“There is no human right to satellite TV. The human right in this example is the right to practise your religion. It is only an illustration of how the law might apply in exceptional circumstances, nor should it be taken out of context. Only the courts can decide if someone’s human rights have in fact been breached,” said a spokesman.
Following the case, the commission also published guidance warning that landlords could face a compensation claim if they do not let tenants put up a satellite dish.
“The right to use a satellite dish is one of the many concrete benefits for European consumers of the free movement of goods and services within the internal market,” said European Commission internal market commissioner Frits Bolkestein.
“Satellite dishes are a popular tool for receiving multiple services via satellite. They facilitate mutual exchanges between our various cultures by overcoming national borders, and familiarise the public with remote communications technologies. Their use must therefore be free from any unjustified obstacle.”