Do you have any rights to the airspace above your home?
Yes you do….or maybe you don’t.
New rules on small drones kick in today: What you need to know.
Real estate law and guidelines have alway stated you own from the center of earth through the sky on below and above your property.
However, government allows developers, utility companies, and themselves to install pipes, wires, lines, etc. throughout your property to deliver home based services people need or demand. Normally, these are called “utility easements” and are declared in existence whenever you purchase our home and can be discovered through a property survey. Also, commercial and military planes and other aircraft have been allowed to pass over your “property” in to permit passing in the interests of commerce and other reasons including free movement of goods, services, people, and military training exercises.
Does the use of a drone aircraft invade not only your privacy, but does it also commit property trespass?
Who knows what data is collected and how far into your home with a good quality camera can peer (through windows), or of your real or personal property can to examine details of your private property? Who controls the data collected and how fast do you think it could spread given our whet appetites for instantaneous social media broadcasts?
Will local governments now use drones to capture detail about your property like dimensions, exterior or interior improvements, or verify if your home improvements have satisfied zoning or permitting requirements?
Example #1: Did you pull a permit for that new deck, pool, or other addition to your home? They county may be watching.
Example #2: Can the county use a drone to fly over your driveway or backyard to examine the condition of property (based on a neighbor complaint of potential code violation) either too many cars parked in the driveway or backyard hidden from view by a fence or some other obstruction that the homeowner uses to prevent access by county employees?
Congress delegated to the FAA the ability to define “navigable airspace” and the authority to regulate “navigable airspace” of aircraft by regulation or order. 49 U.S.C. § 40103(b)(1).
So where do private or commercial drones fit in to that freedom or air restriction above your home and create a “property trespass” situation?
Definition of airspace trespass: An entry into another’s airspace is a trespass even if the trespasser doesn’t touch the surface of the earth. Airplanes may trespass by flying low over a person’s property, for example. An airplane trespasses by flying low enough over the surface to interfere with the owner’s reasonable use and enjoyment of her surface.
Not to mention the fact your privacy is threatened even if the drone doesn’t pass into your “airspace” but alongside your property viewing you inside or outside your home. Does that matter to you?
Bottom line: Expect a number of violations of your privacy and trespass for years to come while the FAA decides on just how far a drone can travel into YOUR airspace until YOU stand up and express your concern to your local, State, and Federal officials!
FAA can be contacted via email at UAShelp@faa.gov or call 844-FLY-MY-UA.
Source: THE PROPERTY RIGHTS OF AIRSPACE.
Source: Navigable Airspace: Where Private Property Rights End and Navigable Airspace Begins.
Source: 49 U.S. Code § 40103 – Sovereignty and use of airspace.