Are Drones Allowed on Condominium Property?

Our readers who keep up with the current advances in technology know that drones are becoming increasingly popular. But with this popularity comes questions about how drones are used.

Recreational drones are largely unregulated

The term “drone” is the common name for an unmanned aerial vehicle. A drone is, essentially, an aircraft without a human pilot on board, and they are used both recreationally and commercially. Typically, the pilot operates the drone by using controls from the ground. Depending on the model, drones can have a flight range of several hundred kilometers at various altitudes. Some drones have cameras for aerial pictures or surveillance.

It is interesting that some experts argue that commercial drones are a viable option to be used by Canada Post to expedite postal delivery to isolated areas. In fact, the online retailer Amazon announced years ago that it is developing drones to deliver customer’s packages faster than mail delivery…even in Canada!

With this increased drone use, Transport Canada now regulates drone operation where they are being used commercially for work or research. Despite this, there is little regulation of recreational drone use amongst hobbyists.

So what does this mean for condominiums?

Increasingly, condominiums are facing issues with drone use on condominium property. With this increase comes a concern about noise, safety and security, privacy, and nuisance, which condominiums will have to consider.

The purpose of section 58 of the Condominium Act is to ensure condominiums create rules to promote the safety, security, and welfare of owners and their property, and to prevent unreasonable interference with condominium residents’ use and enjoyment of the property.

With this purpose in mind, condominiums that are experiencing drone activity on their property are well within the purpose of section 58 to pass a rule respecting drone use.

It is up to each condominium to consider the nature and extent to which drone use may be regulated and to draft rules accordingly. If drones are currently being used and are going to be permitted, the condominium will have to take the appropriate precautions to protect owners; for example, by restricting the time and location of drone use. Or the condominium may consider a complete prohibition.    

Ultimately, whether drones will be allowed on condominium property is a context-specific decision for each condominium to consider. But in our view, rules regulating or prohibiting drone use are valid under section 58 of the Condominium Act.

Our readers in the condominium industry are welcome to contact our Condominium Law Group with any questions about the potential impact of drone use in their condominium.