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Once again, technology has thrust forward and legislation is dragging behind. But it’s starting to catch up.

Realtors using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more commonly known as “drones”, to take aerial photos and videos of properties in New York and the Hamptons, have been subpoenaed by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA recently stated that the remote-controlled drones cannot be used for commercial purposes without that agency’s authorization. Violators risk being fined. It’s the FAA’s mandate to protect Americans in the air and on the ground. In an area as densely populated as Manhattan, the drones present a tremendous potential risk.

Realtors counter that drones are a much more cost effective alternative to hiring a photographer and chartering a plane for aerial shots. A drone can be purchased online for $1500. They believe that, as long as the drones aren’t being used for espionage or evil, they should be allowed.

The new president of Urban Compass, Leonard Steinberg, believes drones are dangerous and to be avoided. “They are a huge liability, like flying debris. It (the use of drones) scares me.”

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