In its never-ending quest to both establish drone policy and then obfuscate that same policy, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has now turned their legal guns on the real-estate industry.
The New York Post reports the agency has aimed subpoenas t area Realtors who dare to deploy drones to take aerial photos of the very properties they are trying to sell.
An unnamed real-estate source told the Post:
“It has completely blown up. We’re getting [subpoenas] all over the city and the Hamptons, and they’re just going to general counsel. It was a total shock.”
For New York City Realtors, using drones to capture cool shots of condo towers and skyscrapers can offer a real “wow factor” to their listings. And, in the Heartland, the potential for UAVs in real-estate marketing is starting to grow.
“There’s a cool factor,” real-estate professional Bill Knapp III told the Des Moines Register. Knapp, a seller and builder, flies a quadcopter to capture footage of luxury homes. “There is something about being able to see things from the sky that people are really enamored with. This allows us to do that with HD-quality video.” Realtors in Massachusetts have reported a similar sense of excitement.
Drone aerial footage can also help sell commercial property. Kurt Mumm, president of NAI Optimum, a West Des Moines commercial brokerage, told the Register that drone footage can capture rooftop HVAC, delivery/loading areas and traffic.
“For somebody sitting in Atlanta, Georgia, making that decision [about commercial property], it’s important to be able to show them … just how quickly some of these markets are expanding,” he said.
The FAA’s legal blitz in the Big Apple may surprise some considering a recent audit revealed the agency will not have an omnibus commercial drone policy in place by the congressionally mandated 2015 deadline. Some drone experts say the agency could be using their time more wisely. Mark Segal, owner Drone-videography firm SkyPan, told the Post: “It concerns me that the FAA is spending time and energy with subpoenas instead of proactively communicating with the . . . builders.”
Writing for Forbes, Gregory S. McNeal points out that the FAA’s NYC crackdown is “the next absurd step in the never ending saga of government agencies that can’t figure out how to regulate new technology.”
Taking the FAA to task, McNeal uses a simple illustration: “If a Realtor films buildings for fun using a remote controlled quadcopter that’s legal. But if she takes that same quadcopter and films buildings as part of her job, that is illegal.”
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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