Is the builder/seller required to install a traditional phone line in a new construction condo?

Asked by Ray, Los Angeles, CA Sun Nov 23, 2008

I have purchased a new construction townhouse and AT&T came out to install phone service, only to discover the builder had only wired the building for Time Warner (cable company) connections. In other words, the phone jacks and cable outlets in my unit are prewired to tap into TW's conduits. The builder insists TW provides the local cable and phone service and that was the proper company to have connections for and that if I choose an alternate carrier like AT&T, that is my responsibility. Of course, anyone living in Hollywood, CA knows that AT&T is actually the phone monopoly and that TW only provides cable broadband phone service at a far higher cost for basic service ($39 monthly vs $5.83 for AT&T). AT&T proposed that the only solution was to run an external wire dangled over the roof into the unit. The builder is telling me that the HOA rules prohibit that. Am I stuck or does the builder have to fix this since he was mistakenly informed who the phone company was for the area?

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Kawain Payne, Agent, Seal Beach, CA
Thu Dec 6, 2012
sadly this decision is up to the developer. they can wire the development as they choose. you will also have to permission to have At&T install the external wire. This is why I always have my buyers be informed about this prior to writing an offer on condos.

In my woods (orange County) most developments are wired for BOTH, cable company,and the local phone company, so buyers have a clear choice when it comes to home phone as well as internet service.

Best Regards,

Kawain Payne, Realtor
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Jonathan Chi, Agent, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Mon Nov 24, 2008
Hi Ray,

Sorry, for some reason I thought the property is located in West Hollywood.

You can contact your agent and see if he or she can negotiate the issue with the builder. Also, do you think there might be other residents in the same neighborhood that have the same concerns? Sometimes, it might take more than one resident to have the builder to correct the problem.

Meanwhile, you should call the building department of the city where the property is located. I don't understand why AT&T is not able to tap into the system because it doesn't make any sense.

Please kindly let us know if you need any further assistance. We are always here to help!!

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Ray, Home Buyer, Los Angeles, CA
Sun Nov 23, 2008
I am the original person who posted the question. To add to it, there are phone jacks preinstalled throughout the unit, but apparently they are wired into Time Warner's lines only which AT&T does not have the right to tap into. The inspector would not have found anything unusual as the jacks are there. Also, the unit is in Los Angeles, not West Hollywood as 90046 is shared by both cities. The main purpose of the landline is for the alarm system as monitoring via traditional phone line is still much cheaper than via broadband or cellular. A traditional phone line would also be required for me to use a DSL provider rather than be forced to use Time Warner cable internet the way it is set up now. Any additional help would be much appreciated.
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Jonathan Chi, Agent, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Sun Nov 23, 2008
Dear Ray,

I am really sorry to hear about your experience. However, your inspector should have at least mention the situation to you just as a reminder. I believe what you meant from your question is that there is only cable wiring but no regular phone jacks in the condo.

In order to find out if the builder has violated the building codes in West Hollywood. You have to contact the "Building and Safety Department" at (323) 848-6320 from the City Hall.

"The Building and Safety public counter, located on the second floor, is open from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM and from 1:30 PM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Thursday and every other Friday."

Once again, I am very sorry for your experience and can understand your frustration this may have caused. Personally, I believe that land lines are still required even though a lot of people like myself don't use landlines anymore. However, landlines do have advantages during power outage and emergency periods.

Please feel free to let us know if you have any further questions.

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