QUESTION: Our neighbor's teenage son has been flying a drone over houses in the neighborhood, including our swimming pool. This is an invasion of my privacy. Can the board do something to stop him?
ANSWER: The National Park Service has banned drones from many of their parks because of their noise, safety concerns and privacy issues (since most carry cameras). Associations can limit drones or ban them altogether for the same reasons.
Restricting Drones. Associations can impose restrictions by amending CC&Rs or through a rule change. Adopting a rule is much easier than amending the CC&Rs since it can be done by the board after a 28-day notice period. However, a CC&R amendment is easier to enforce if an HOA needs to go into court.
City and County. Any ban adopted by an association would apply only to members, residents and guests. If drones are being flown through the development by people outside the association, the board's options are limited. The HOA would need to go to the city or county to seek a ban.
Real Estate. Boards should consider an exception for Realtors who get permission from the association to take pictures of house so it can be listed and sold. This would benefit members who want to sell their homes.
Recommendation: I recommend that boards start with a simple rule change. At some point when they update their CC&Rs, they can include the restriction.
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