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Hovering above your house: Regulating drones

Just as the use of drones – small, remote-controlled flyers with attached camera – is taking off as a marketing tactic for real estate professionals, states are taking steps to regulate the unmanned aerial vehicles.

More than 40 states have contemplated measures this year, and six have approved restrictions. Of those six, four focus on drone usage by law enforcement and/or public agencies. The other two – Texas and Idaho – regulate both public and private use.

The issue was not brought up for full House vote in Olympia before the deadline, so the topic was not considered in the recent session.

The Texas law does provide numerous exceptions, including the use of drones by “a Texas licensed real estate broker in connection with the marketing, sale, or financing of real property.” However, the law would need to be revised each time a viable drone application is discovered and seeks exemption.

In addition to real estate, private drones are also used as an inspection and repair technique for oil and gas firms, and utility companies use them to monitor vegetation growth along easements. News organizations have also used drowns to collect event footage and animal rights groups have used the devices for monitoring, for example.

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