The growing use of drones across the United States is leading to the adoption of new rules and restrictions by the federal government, state governments and community associations. Questions regarding safety, property damage and privacy are forcing community associations to establish clear parameters for their use by unit owners.

The FAA has already enacted regulations for their use by recreational users. They now require that drones must be properly registered and labeled with the registration number. They must only be flown below 400 feet and always within sight of the operator, and are banned from use near other aircraft and airports as well as groups of people, stadiums, sporting events, or emergency response efforts.

Due to privacy concerns, a Florida law states that drones with cameras cannot be used to record images of privately owned properties or of the owners, tenants or occupants in violation of their reasonable expectations of privacy without their written consent.

Adoption of Rules and Regulations for drones in your community could go a long way in addressing concerns and questions. Things to consider are:

  • Establishment of designated take-off/landing sites
  • Restriction of hours of use, i.e. only daylight hours, etc.
  • Penalties for violations of those rules and regulations
  • Clarifying that the Association is not liable for any property damage caused by the drones
  • Ensuring that if the user of the drone causes property damage, they are held liable.

You should also consult with your insurance consultant to confirm that the association is adequately insured with regard to the risks that may arise as a result of the use of drones.

by Diana Quigley, Education and Change Management Manager, Campbell Property Management