On June 21, 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), determined new rules to set in place for those operating drones. This new regulation, known as the Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule, is a response to further use of drones for commercial and amateur purposes. With a developing segment of real estate agents focusing on drone photography for commercial purposes, this information is especially important.
The Small Unmanned Aircraft Rule
The new rule for drone technology is explained in full at the FAA website. It went into effect at the end of August of 2016 and applies to drones that weigh less than 55 pounds. The rule allows businesses, including real estate entities, to use small unmanned aircraft commercially without obtaining an exemption or waiver.
In the past, commercial use of drones would have required a Section 333 exemption approved by the FAA. Your business would have had to have been analyzed and assessed. Today, you are not required to hold a pilot’s license in order to operate a drone, but you must obtain a remote pilot certificate instead.
Obtaining a Remote Pilot Certificate
In order to be eligible to obtain the remote pilot certificate required to commercially operate a small unmanned aircraft, you must be at least 16 years old and possess English-speaking skills. Additionally, you must be in physical and mental shape that allows you to operate the drone safely as well as to pass a brief aeronautical knowledge test. There is also an application fee.
Real Estate Drones & Accidents
If the drone you are using to take photos is involved in any sort of accident, you are required to report it within 10 days in certain circumstances. This is the case if you cause serious injury to another person or cause damage to a property costing more than $500.
Before you begin using a drone, it is important that you get in touch with the firm managing your insurance. It is imperative that you have a broad understanding of how much (if any) coverage you receive for incidents caused by an unmanned aircraft you may be controlling.
Unfortunately, many brokerage insurance companies do not cover any aspect of drone technology. Drones are still so new that many real estate offices do not even think about coverage. This is why it is so important that you make a call before getting started.
What Does This Mean for Real Estate Agents?
If you are a real estate agent who currently uses drones or is thinking about using drones, the process has gotten simpler. Do not be deterred by the FAA’s ruling. Contact us for more information about staying up to date with real estate education and other important information.