Cut the Wires: Apartment complex forced to cut exposed cable wires?

(WSVN) - WSVN — Managing an apartment complex has its complications, like one South Florida manager who had cables hanging on the building from the TV providers. Then the city said, “If those cables aren’t covered up or removed, we are going to start fining you.” So can she cut the cables herself? It’s why she called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

We hear a lot of complaints about the people who run apartment complexes, but Kami Churba is one of the good managers. Her key?

Kami Churba: “I do everything for the property, for the residents.”

One thing Kami does for the 90 tenants is let them pick their TV provider.

Kami Churba: “So we allowed Comcast, we allowed DirecTV and we allowed Dish Network on the property to give whichever tenant wanted their services.”

The residents liked the choices, but after years of cable and satellite installations, the City of Hollywood said enough.

Kami Churba: “We received a violation from the City of Hollywood in regards to the cables that are all over the outside of the building.”

Kami Churba
Kami Churba

Walk outside and you can see what the city was talking about. Exposed cables draped from the top of the building to the bottom. Cables running from one unit, tied into another cable from another unit. Cables all over the ground going from open boxes to apartments.

Kami Churba: “If somebody walks back here and trips on that, that becomes another problem.”

Kami agrees with the City of Hollywood and wants the Comcast, Dish and DirecTV cables removed or hidden.

Kami Churba: “It’s the first thing that I see when I am driving up, is a bunch of cables. I don’t want that to be the first thing you see when you drive up to these buildings.”

So she contacted each provider. After a month and a half, Comcast told her they were working on a solution.

Kami Churba: “Dish Network said they can’t do anything.”

And DirecTV?

Kami Churba: “They said the cost would be about $27,000 to correct their problem, and they want us to pay half of it.”

Kami said she wasn’t paying to remove their cables, meaning the city was going to start fining her for those cables.

Kami Churba: “I am very frustrated. I am very disappointed.”

Kami then thought, to avoid the fines, just remove the cables laying exposed on the ground and cut the ones hanging over the building.

Kami Churba: “I would love to do that. I don’t want our residents to have to pay an early termination fee. I don’t know if we are allowed to do that.”

Well, Howard, can Kami cut someone else’s cables? And if she does, do the tenants still have to pay their cable or Dish bill?

Howard Finkelstein: “It sounds complicated, but it’s simple. Since the TV providers are in violation of city code, Kami can cut the lines after she gives the companies the opportunity to relocate the cables in a manner that meets the city’s approval. If they don’t do that, after the wires are cut, legally the cable company is in breach of their contract because they are not providing TV service, so the tenants can get out of their contracts and stop paying.”

But Kami won’t have to cut any cables. All three providers stepped in.

The week we talked to Kami, Comcast came in and began to hide all their cables, putting them in PVC pipes.

Instead of calling Dish and DirecTV customer service, I contacted the corporate offices. Both were great. Dish and DirecTV came out, took down their exposed cables and removed their dishes from the property.

Kami Churba: “Everything was finished within a week. It was wonderful.”

With all the cables now gone or hidden away, Kami is so impressed with the way the building looks, she is going to put a fresh coat of paint on it.

As for calling us for help, she does have one regret.

Kami Churba: “I am so happy. I am just sorry that I waited so long to call Help Me Howard.”

Another bonus for Kami — the cables were cleaned up before the city started fining her. Kami is happy, the city is happy, and the tenants who had Dish or DirecTV had their contracts terminated and they didn’t have to pay any penalties. Worked out for everyone, thanks to Comcast, Dish and DirecTV for stepping in.

A tangled mess left you hanging? Need someone to dish out a solution? Cable your problems our way, ’cause we are wired to cut through the mess for you.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN
On Twitter: @helpmehoward7

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