A brokerage with offices in New York City, the Hamptons and Palm Beach, Florida received a subpoena from the FAA regarding their use of drones via a vendor to shoot aerial photography for marketing purposes. While the FAA allows drones to be used by hobbyists it prohibits them to be used for ‘commercial use’ and—when it comes to real estate—this is where the disagreement lies. The response on the behalf of some agents is that since they do not charge for the use of the drones they can’t aren’t being used in the way the law originally intended ‘commercial use’ to be interpreted. It seems the FAA is of a different opinion.
Inman News found out some more information, including a statement from the FAA that states unequivocally that “they have not approved any commercial [drone] operations by any Realtors”. The Inman article goes on to explain how the FAA is in the process of developing regulations that relate to real estate agents so if you use drone photography as part of your marketing efforts please read the article to get an understanding of what the current rules are.