DRONES IN YOUR COMMUNITY? DON'T FORGET TO DUCK

As if there wasn’t enough to worry about in your condo or HOA, now we need to be concerned about flying objects that can take pictures of us while we are sitting in our back yard or even inside of our homes or condo units.

About two years ago, a client of the firm called up and swore that a flying object was outside his condo unit several stories up and that it was probably taking pictures of him.  To be honest, I figured he just walked out of his favorite watering hole and certainly had more than one too many.  Now, after seeing that these drones actually exist, I’m sorry I didn’t believe him.

Real estate agents are using drones to take amazing pictures of the properties they are trying to sell.  Police agencies and the military use them to get better views of the areas they are trying to protect and serve.

I hope by now you see where I’m going with this.  Some association boards will no doubt begin using drones to take pictures of your home, your back yards and even the interior of your home if they think you’re up to no good.  The question is….can they do it?

Some may argue that you have a reasonable expectation of privacy in your own backyard.  The courts however don’t necessarily agree. You do however own the air rights over your home, so if a drone is sitting directly over your home, that certainly may be considered a trespass.  Can you shoot it down?  Probably not without going to prison for discharging your weapon.  If you can reach it with a baseball bat though, I think you’re good.  That’s what I would do.

 

You do however have an expectation of privacy inside of your home and using a drone to fly up to the windows of a unit and look in is definitely going too far and will get the association sued.

There are other issues to think about as well.  What happens if the association uses a drone that winds up crashing and injuring someone?  The association better make sure they have the necessary insurance coverage.  You may certainly want to ask your agent.

What about limiting the use of drones in the community?  Certainly, if the board can use drones, the owners can too.  Do we now need reasonable rules and regulations regarding the use of drones in the community?

You really have to admire technology and how it changes our routines and way of life.  I would love to keep writing but I have to go.  I ordered a pizza for dinner and it just landed on the front lawn.

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