In connection to previous posts about using drones equipped with cameras in real estate, I wondered what privacy laws would need to be considered. Specifically when it comes to checking up on tenants. The applicable laws are NY Penal Law Section 250.40 to 250.65 which basically state that it is illegal to use any sort of electronic surveillance in an area where someone has the expectation of privacy. So that could make the use of drones problematic even if you were doing it for other reasons like taking aerial shots for marketing or inspecting a facade for maintenance. Perhaps you can notify tenants that filming will take place on a given date and post a notice in the building, that would be an interesting question for a Landlord Tenant attorney. It is of course legal to have surveillance cameras in common / public areas provided they are in full view or a sign is posted stating cameras are in use. Apparently NY does not forbid looking into someone’s window without surveillance equipment, which kind of makes sense since everyone lives across the street from someone else and if “just looking” was a crime that would be impractical. In other words, get some drapes buddy.

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