The Consequences to Avoid When Using HOA Drones

HOA drones can benefit a community association, showcasing the neighborhood at its finest but can also serve as a hindrance. Once used solely for military operations, drone technology is now so convenient that even children enjoy playing with these remotely operated aircraft. However, even though an HOA board member owns a drone, they can still use it for unannounced inspections. 

What Happens if Your Client Misuses HOA Drones

Your client will need an excellent product to counter the negative consequences of misusing HOA drones. The following list is what happens when there is drone misuse. 

FAA Licensing Fines for HOA Drones

Checking that residents comply with community rules constitutes commercial drone use. If you don’t have a commercial license, the Federal Aviation Administration can fine you up to $35,000. Here are the steps for getting the 24-month drone operator license you need:

  1. Prove that you are over 16 years old, speak English, and are in good health
  2. Register for a tracking number
  3. Pay a $175 fee
  4. Pass a 60-question test

Fines for Flying Too High

Once you have obtained a license, you must be sure to fly at no higher than 400 feet above the ground. This height restriction exists to protect airplanes from fatal collisions with drones. Since an average two-story house is only about 20 feet tall, this rule is usually manageable for HOA use.

HOA Noise Complaints

The propellers on a drone produce an 80-decibel buzzing sound that resembles a swarm of angry bees. This noise is annoying and loud enough to damage human hearing with prolonged exposure. Thus, you run the risk of noise complaints from neighbors whenever you fly a drone near their homes.

Human Injuries

A simple engine malfunction can cause a drone to fly into people and lacerate its skin with its propellers. For this reason, the FAA forbids pilots to fly them over humans who are not inside either a stationary vehicle or a covered structure. You may only fly over moving cars if it is for a short period and you have notified the drivers in advance.

Property Damage

While not as bad as injuring people, you also risk damaging property if you lose control of your drone while in flight. Even experienced pilots cannot control a machine if it is malfunctioning, and most drones can fly fast enough to break windows and scratch cars. Furthermore, a falling, burning drone could ignite a tree in someone’s yard if the lithium battery inside catches fire.

Trespassing Charges Due to HOA Drones

The bylaws of most community associations give HOA officials the right to inspect resident properties. However, they must use the same criteria for inspecting with drones as they do for in-person investigations. For example, you may have to give written notice before your visit. Otherwise, homeowners can sue for trespassing, violation of privacy, or even harassment.

Using HOA drones can be an innovative method to inspect properties because they make it possible to document the state of roofs, swimming pools, and other hard-to-photograph features. If your board plans to use one, be sure your pilot has a commercial license, and you limit inspections to items you generally inspect in person. Otherwise, you risk the above negative HOA drone consequences.

About Kevin Davis Insurance Services

For over 35 years, Kevin Davis Insurance Services has built an impressive reputation as a strong wholesale broker offering insurance products for the community association industry. Our president Kevin Davis and his team take pride in offering committed services to the community association market and providing them with unparalleled access to high-quality coverage, competitive premiums, superior markets, and detailed customer service. To learn more about the coverage we offer, contact us toll-free at (855)-790-7393 to speak with one of our representatives.