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Real Estate & ‘Drones’ – Useful Information for Agents

You simply can’t get away from them these days. They’re in the news, usually reported under ‘bad’ news rather than the good they bring, your friend may own one or you may have even bought one yourself. They have a few names dependant upon the aircraft; Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs), UAVs, RPASs, etc. or as the media like to call them – ‘Drones’ – it seems like they’re everywhere.
Love them or hate them, one fact is undeniable and that is that drones continue to ‘fly high’ within industries that have embraced them and continue to make headway in to new market opportunities.
Marketing in general, but in particular within Real Estate, has become a large consumer of UAS service providers and although tempting as it may be for Estate Agents to pop down to the nearest shop that sells the latest and greatest drone out there to take some footage for their client themselves, it’s not quite as simple as that.
And this is why.
A drone is in actual fact an ‘aircraft’ and from a Commercial standpoint, requires the ‘Remote Pilot’ (the person in command of the aircraft) to;
1. Have successfully completed the appropriate training with a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved National Qualified Entity (NQE) and be certified by the NQE that they are competent pilots and have the required standard of knowledge and skills as set out by the CAA
2. Have the mandatory insurance in place which is in accordance with the requirements of regulation (EC)785/2004 (the minimum level of insurance cover required for all air carriers and operators) and includes at least the minimum amount of Liability insurance for the individual operation to be conducted
3. Be approved by the UK CAA by way of Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) – note this is not a license but is based on a permissions and exemption system and is the current industry standard
As recently as 30th July 2018, new regulations came into force that tightened up the law with regards to flying an unmanned aircraft in UK airspace and further regulation and law is currently planned for late 2019. Expect this to continue.
So unless you’re fortunate to have an employee in your own Estate Agent that holds a PfCO, insurance and their own aircraft, it really is necessary to hire a professional operator to undertake any aerial footage on your behalf, otherwise the law could be broken.
Additionally, partnering with a UAS operator to take aerial footage on your behalf ensures that firstly, you as an Estate Agent are operating within the law but secondly, this approach future proofs your business as you leave all of the regulatory items, insurance requirements and all other aviation nuances to the professionals.
Written by: Neil Rutter – [email protected]

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