Are you breaking Texas law when you fly your drone?

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Drone flying in the air

02/07/2017 | Author: Editorial Staff

Just because a drone operator complies with Federal Aviation Administration rules for small unmanned aircraft doesn’t mean he can fly anywhere in Texas he wants. The Texas Privacy Act (Government Code Chapter 423) limits the use of drones in certain situations, even if the operator is certified by the FAA.

However, the privacy act has an exception for real estate activities. It allows drone users to take photos and video if they are “captured by a Texas licensed real estate broker in connection with the marketing, sale, or financing of real property, provided that no individual is identifiable in the image.”

So, you can capture all the drone footage of a client’s property that you want—as long as you keep people out of it (unless you have their consent).

If you’d like to take footage of the property’s surroundings, stick to public property or obtain consent from that owner. You’re allowed to capture images and video of public property and people on public property. But you could run afoul of the law if you record properties that aren’t your client’s.

Categories: Legal, Land, farm, ranch
Tags: legal, drones


JB Williamson on 02/10/2017

You can take a photo/video of anyone/anything from a distance of 8 feet or more if the person is not identifiable. 

400 feet is the ceiling for sUAS imposed by the FAA for hobby/recreational use & commercial use.  There’s really no need (IMO) to go that high, you’re endangering aircraft & you can get the same thing from Google Earth.

One of the rules for flying sUAS is it must be in sight at all times, without the aid of other devices (binoculars, etc.).  At 400 feet it is a “small speck” in the sky!

I can set distance/height limits on my Phantom 3P, I set mine at no more than 100 feet away & 100 feet in height.  I can photograph/video anything I need within those limits.

AND remember the No. 1 rule of the internet, most of it is opinions of so called experts (including mine) just giving their opinions, people read these things & think it is the gospel.

Read the law/rules & ask those that enforce them, don’t trust the internet.

For more info about those accusing “drones” capable of spying, invading privacy, search youtube, for Can You Spy With a Drone by DroneDude.  I posted the link in a previous reply, but it looks like my post was deleted.

Bobby Mathew on 02/09/2017

Does anyone know the law regarding taking the video of the entire community from drone. I heard somewhere that we can take video from 400 ft high


Drew Thacker on 02/09/2017

Liability extends beyond the operator to the agent. Be sure your operator is licensed and insured. Sectional maps for restricted flight zones BCD& E must be supported by FAA waiver granting permission.
Use only licensed commercial drone operators and even then better inform neighbors and get permission for any over flights that would invade privacy.
Also please be considerate of animals and livestock as drones below 200 feet will definitely scare them
Best, Drew

David Davis on 02/07/2017

This is huge for licensees that also love to photograph their customer’s & client’s and post images all over social media without obtaining their written permission.  One of these days, it going to really bite someone in the back side.

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The material provided here is for informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be considered as legal advice for your particular matter. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Applicability of the legal principles discussed in this material may differ substantially in individual situations.

While the Texas Association of REALTORS® has used reasonable efforts in collecting and preparing materials included here, due to the rapidly changing nature of the real estate marketplace and the law, and our reliance on information provided by outside sources, the Texas Association of REALTORS® makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee of the accuracy or reliability of any information provided here or elsewhere on Any legal or other information found here, on, or at other sites to which we link, should be verified before it is relied upon.

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