Satellite dish tenants evicted

Three Stockholm families are to be evicted after they fixed satellite dishes outside their flats in the northern suburb of Rinkeby.

The decision was confirmed by the Svea appeal court in Stockholm on Friday.

The families will be given until March to leave their homes.

“The ruling means that everyone who has a satellite dish that intrudes on the landlord’s airspace risks being forced to remove them under threat of eviction,” said P.O. Brogren at the Swedish Union of Tenants (Hyresgästföreningen).

“This is a terrible blow both in principle and to the families affected.”

According to Brogren the appeal court has confirmed what he describes as a “terrible power relationship” between tenants and landlords.

The landlord had claimed that the dishes were a safety risk, but the court said that even if there had been no safety risk, the landlord’s “strong and justified” interests of maintaining good order take priority. The tenants’ freedom to access information (through their dishes) had not been infringed, the court decided.

“We have to get the law changed. We’re going to talk to the government about this,” says Brogren.

Many residents of Rinkeby, which has a large proportion of immigrants among its inhabitants, have satellite dishes. Most residents fix their dishes to their balcony railings. The families involved in the latest case had fixed their dishes to the facade of the building in an attempt to get better reception.

After an earlier hearing, a rent tribunal had approved the siting of the dishes on side of the buildings, saying that the right to freely access information outweighed the landlord’s argument that the antennae could fall off and injure people.

Property owner Kvarnhjulet Förvaltning then took the case to the appeal court, asking to evict the tenants. The Swedish Union of Tenants, which has supported the families, has previously said that it is prepared to take the case to the European Court.

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TT/The Local