DRONE USE FOR HOA AND CONDO INSPECTIONS
HOW DRONES CAN ASSIST WITH INSPECTIONS
The improvement of technology and the availability of budget friendly drones in the marketplace have increased the number of drones purchased for recreational and commercial purposes. Many property management companies, homeowner associations, and condominiums have become interested in using drones to assist with the inspection of lots and units for covenant violations. Drones can provide users with aerial views that would otherwise be too difficult to obtain from the community roads and sidewalks. Most drones are also fitted with cameras that can record and photograph violations, which can be helpful when documenting them for enforcement procedures.
Drones are such a new technology that most governing documents are too old to contemplate their use or prohibition. It is more likely that an amendment to the governing documents or a rule or regulation might regulate their use. Pursuant to Section 14-301 of the Maryland Economic Development Article, only the State may enact a law or take action to prohibit, restrict, or regulate the testing or operation of unmanned aircraft systems. Presently, there are no State laws or actions that prohibit, restrict, or regulate drone usage for the inspections within a community association. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) requires all drones between 0.55 lbs and 55 lbs to be registered with the Federal Government, pursuant to 14 CFR part 107. Registration is found here: https://registermyuas.faa.gov. Additionally, drones used for business and not recreational purposes must be registered with the FAA for commercial use, and meet certain requirements.
THE LAW OFFICE OF P. HONG LE CAN HELP
In addition to the legal factors, homeowner associations and condominiums should consider the pragmatic factors regarding drone use and its public perception. There is no question that there are some individuals who view drones as intrusive, an invasion to privacy, and even a nuisance. It is very possible to imagine a homeowner that sees a drone flying above and around their home who will overreact to the situation. If your community is interested in using drones for inspections and covenant enforcement purposes, the Law Office of P. Hong Le, LLC can help. Contact the Office today to schedule a consultation regarding the use of drones and whether or not they can be used in your community today!