Drones Will Soon Be Flying Over Your Properties on a Regular Basis: What Are the Implications?

The number of drones (also known as unmanned aerial vehicles) in the air overhead has been climbing steadily in recent years. If your client associations aren’t already dealing with the implications of both commercial and recreational drone usage, they probably will be soon.

“Drone usage will be commonplace in the coming decade,” says community association attorney Joseph Scharnak, a principal in the Chicago office of Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit, “and generations that grew up with the technology being available will expect to take advantage of it.”

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the United States has about 870,000 registered drones, including about 348,000 commercial drones and 518,000 registered for recreational use. And some of those inevitably are hovering over community associations.

“I’ve seen only a handful of situations where unit owners operating drones has become problematic,” Scharnak says. “Generally, drone use has been limited to contractors’ professional use in connection with inspecting the property and preparing bids or reports for the association.”

In some cases, associations themselves are taking advantage of drones. “Building maintenance personnel may use drones to inspect hard-to-reach areas,” Scharnak says. Think gutters, roofs, chimneys, and tuckpointing. “It’s more efficient and can prevent personal injury.”

“Drones also could serve as roving security cameras with greater capabilities than stationary cameras,” Scharnak says. “It’s foreseeable that drones will eventually accept package and food deliveries in lobbies and deliver them to units throughout the building.”

Read the full article to learn more about the legal and practical issues you and your clients should be discussing:

Here Come the Drones: What You and Your Clients Need to Know

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Matt Humphrey

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