By Deborah Goonan
There has been considerable buzz lately about drones in American neighborhoods. Should there be limitations upon recreational use of drones? Might drones be equipped with cameras to capture bird’s-eye view? How will drone air space be managed? What if a drone crashes? What are appropriate vs. inappropriate uses of drones?
Some professionals in the HOA industry are seriously discussing the possibility of using drones to investigate and photograph covenant violations or monitor contractors and possible fire safety hazards in hard to access locations.
Obviously, this is a controversial issue, and there are bound to be a significant number of residents that will not appreciate the noise or possible violations of privacy. For instance, will drone technology lead HOA leaders to embark on unsolicited fishing expeditions for violations of covenants and restrictions? Why wait for a resident to file a complaint, if it’s easy to scout the entire subdivision or high-rise with a drone hover craft? You have to admit, it’s a Gotcha! game waiting to happen.
Before industry Enforcers — mainly management companies and HOA attorneys — dive headfirst into flying drones over the community, they need to read this article about what might happen if one of the residents decides to shoot a drone out of the sky. As you’ll see, in addition to stirring up controversy about privacy, misuse of drones can quickly expose Association-Governed Residential Communities to liability for personal injury or property damage. Guaranteed, there will probably be an HOA Board or two that thinks it can prevent destruction of drones by prohibiting all guns. But then there’s the sticky issue of Second Amendment Rights. And, of course, a well-aimed rock or long-handled broom might also take out a drone within range. Or maybe we’ll end up with Dueling Drones?
The Sky’s Not Your Lawn: Man Wins Lawsuit After Neighbor Shotgunned His Drone
STAFF WRITER, Motherboard
So what do you think?