Using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to capture aerial footage of real estate properties is not a new practice, but the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is now issuing subpoenas to Realtors who do so.
According to a New York Post article, high-end Realtors, such as Halstead Property in New York City, are being served subpoenas from the agency, which is concerned that the vehicles are being used for a “commercial” purpose.
Although the Realtors can reportedly be issued a fine if they continue to use the UAVs, many believe it is not necessarily a commercial use, as their clients are not paying for the photos.
This comes shortly after the FAA released its reiterated “guidance” for model aircraft – more or less saying that commercial use is prohibited.
In the notice, the FAA restates the law’s definition of “model aircraft,” including requirements that they do not interfere with manned aircraft, are flown within sight of the operator and are operated only for hobby or recreational purposes.
A Seattle woman recently called the police when she spotted a UAV outside the window of her 26th-floor apartment; it turns out the operator was getting footage of the skyline for prospective Realtors or architects.