Who is responsible for ensuring my antenna can receive digital TV?

From 5 June 2012, areas of southern and central NSW, ACT and MIA have switched from analog TV to digital TV. This means that free-to-air TV signals are now broadcast in digital-only.

For information specific to ACT area you can find the “Are you ready for digital TV guide” here.

Much of the information in this FAQ was taken from this document, and the website has numerous fact sheets and guides for landlords and property managers on digital TV.

What is digital TV?

The word ‘digital’ simply refers to the way in which TV signals are broadcast (sent) and received by TVs in homes around Australia. In some parts of Australia, TV is broadcast in both digital and analog. However, the analog signals are gradually being phased out across the country between 2010 and 2013, and Australian TV will become digital-only.

If you already have an antenna

Most antennas should work after the analog TV signals are switched off but some may require an upgrade or adjustments. If you are not sure why you are not getting good reception you can contact an Endorsed Antenna Installer to advise you on this issue (see below for more information).

If it is necessary to upgrade the antenna systems in private rental properties you should discuss this with your landlord or property manager.  If your property was provided with an antenna then your landlord is obliged to maintain it in a reasonable state of repair, as stated in clause 55 of the Standard Residential Tenancy Terms. This obligation may require them to upgrade your antenna receive digital TV signals. If your landlord refuses to upgrade your antenna you can call the Tenants Advice Service on 6247 2011 for further information and advice on what to do.

If you live in an apartment building

Buildings such as apartments and units (known as multi-dwelling units or MDUs) and groups of townhouses, often use a shared antenna system, also known as a master antenna TV (MATV).

If you live in this type of building, the shared system may need to be upgraded, or may have to be installed for the first time. In most cases the modifications and upgrades required will be minimal. It may not be necessary to replace the whole antenna system.

You should speak to your landlord about having the system upgraded or replaced – and they will have to raise the issue with the owners corporation or Body Corporate.  If your landlord or the Body Corporate refuses to upgrade your antenna you can call the Tenants Advice Service on 6247 2011 for further information and advice on what to do.

If your property doesn’t have an antenna at all

If your property doesn’t have an antenna but you would like one, you can request that your landlord install one.  You may also want to consider purchasing internal antennas or “bunny ears” that may improve the reception for your television.  Unfortunately if you landlord refuses to install an antenna there is not a lot you can do – they are not required by legislation to install one.

However, if there was a TV connection outlet at your property when you started living there, which led you to believe there was adequate TV reception, you may be able to argue that you were entitled to assume that there was television reception. You can call the Tenant Advice Line on 6247 2011 to discuss if you think this might be your situation.

If you want to install an antenna

You can install an antenna yourself but you must get written consent from the landlord as stated in clause 67 of the SRTT.  Your landlord cannot unreasonably withhold consent (clause 68). You should make a written agreement about the installation of an antenna to the house, make it very clear about whether it will be removed at the end of the tenancy or not. Be aware that you may be liable for damage caused to the house by the removal of an antenna and that if you leave the fixtures or fittings at the house when you leave, they become the landlord’s property. 

Helping your landlord to get digital ready…

Brochures and information sheets

There are brochures available from the Australian Government Digital Ready website that encourage landlords to make sure their properties are ready for digital TV. You can order free copies of the brochure by calling the Digital Ready Information Line on 1800 20 10 13. There is also an information sheet for landlords and property managers available to download under the brochures and info sheets page here.

Tax deductions for landlords

It used to be the case that landlords could not claim tax deductions on improvements to properties – including installation of new antennas.  However as part of the Australian Government’s efforts to get properties “Digital ready” landlords may be able to claim a tax deduction for part or all of the cost of the purchase or upgrade of antenna equipment for your rental property. Your landlord can find out if they are eligible by contacting the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), or download the ATO “Rental Properties” guide here.

Do you need assistance with the switch over?

Endorsed Antenna Installers

As part of assisting people to make their homes digital ready, Endorsed Antenna Installers have been approved by the Australian Government to ensure consumers have access to knowledgeable and experienced antenna installers, to help them get ready for digital TV. An Endorsed Antenna Installer can advise on ways of improving reception, even in areas with marginal signal coverage.  More information can be found here.

mySwitch

mySwitch is an easy-to-use, interactive web-based tool designed to provide the information you need to prepare for switchover in your area.  It includes tips on what to do about poor reception.

Enter your full address into the mySwitch tool to retrieve specific information surrounding the switch off of analog TV signals in your area. If you do not have internet access, you can call the Digital Ready Information Line on 1800 20 10 13.

Digital switchover liaison officers

Digital switchover liaison officers are available in switchover areas during the months leading up to switchover. The officers work across the switchover region with local councils and community organisations, and they may also host or participate in local events or give presentations to local groups on how to switchover to digital television. 

The liaison officers will work to help groups of residents who may find it more difficult to switch to digital TV by themselves, such as those who are less mobile, or who find technology challenging. However, it is not part of the officer’s role to install television equipment. They will provide information on the switchover process and inform residents about other government digital TV initiatives.If you are on a government pension.

You can contact your nearest Digital Switchover Liaison Officer through either of the following options: Email: switchover@dbcde.gov.au Phone: 1800 20 10 13 and ask for the Digital Switchover Liaison Officer nearest to you.

Household Assistance Scheme

The Household Assistance Scheme has been established to help eligible people switch to digital TV free-of-charge. If you’re eligible, you will receive a letter from Centrelink inviting you to apply for the scheme. More information can be found here or call Centrelink on 1800 556 443.

Reviewed: 4/12/13

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Tenants’ Union ACT publishes this website as a free service to the public.

This website provides information about the law designed to help users understand their legal rights and obligations. However legal information is not the same as legal advice (the application of law to an individual's specific circumstances). Although we make all efforts to ensure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult the Tenants Advice Service for advice specific to your circumstances. You are also free to consult an independent solicitor for a second opinion.

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