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Can Drones Fly Over Private Property? (Is It Trespassing?)

At one time or another, you have seen a drone hovering in the sky. They are unmanned aircraft controlled by a pilot on the ground using a remote.

These drones are used for recreational use and photography as well as commercial use such as delivering packages and helping in natural disasters.

One concern that many people have is a drone flying on or over their property and invading their privacy. But is that allowed? 

You cannot fly a drone low over someone’s property without permission as it is considered trespassing. Generally flying a drone above house height is considered airspace that the property owner does not own so a drone would be allowed to fly there.

Drones should not be flown over private property as it may cause people to be scared they are being spied on. If you are asked not to fly the drone over someone else’s property and still continue to do it any way they have every right to report it and the drone operator can be fined for trespassing or being a private nuisance. 

If you find a suspicious drone flying over your property, call law enforcement.

There are some places where flying a drone is not permitted and it is always a good idea to stay within the Federal Aviation Administration( FAA) regulations given. By following the rules, you will avoid unwanted arguments and fines and enjoy an exciting drone flight.

Altitude is one important thing that affects a drone flying over your property. If a drone pilot is using their drone right next to your windows, doors, etc. then they are likely violating some local laws. If a drone is flying far above your house or property they are likely not in violation of federal law (as long as they are below 400 feet and are maintaining a visual line of site.

It can be frustrating that these high-tech gadgets can fly over your property and use their cameras in any way that they like however in the US drone laws are set at the federal level by the FAA. Since technically a drone is flying in federal airspace they are not actually on your property even if they are over it.

However, some state laws are more restrictive and will have different categories on what is and is not allowed. Of course, you have some reasonable expectation of privacy when you are in your house or on your property but since drones are in uncontrolled airspace (that you don’t own) often the rules and laws surrounding them are left up to a federal agency.

Some local governments have put an ordinance in place in regard to the operation of drones and where someone’s aerial vehicle can and cannot be flown. So if you are having some issues with drone pilots near you be sure and check out your local municipal law or contact your local police department and see if anything can be done.

To see the most popular drones currently available just click here. 

What Do You Do If A Drone Is Flying Over Your Property?

It may come as a surprise to know that you do not own the airspace over your property. The airspace your property takes up is yours but the FAA is in control over the rest of the airspace above where your land is.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, they own the airspace over your home and drones can fly in the air just like people walk on sidewalks.

Anyone is permitted to walk on the sidewalks just as anyone is technically able to fly a drone over your property. Now, this may sound controversial according to what we already discussed about private property. 

The difference is really where the drone is in regard to height. If it is hovering near your windows or doors or just a few feet off the ground it is likely in your airspace. 

However, if it is flying a long way above your house or land then it is likely not breaking any laws. 

The point is, that as long as the drone is not doing anything illegal then it is okay that it is hovering in the sky. It becomes a problem when the drone is flying really low over someone’s yard or next to their house. 

For this, someone could be turned in to the authorities as being suspicious and trespassing. 

If a drone is flying so high over your property it can barely be seen, then there is no cause for alarm. But if it constantly flies really low then the user needs to be contacted and asked to stop.  

If failure to comply with the FAA guidelines continually occurs, then the property owner has the right to contact law enforcement and report the drone user. By following the rules set in place for drones, you can avoid all of this. 

The drone guidelines are there for a reason. 

Some people feel that if a drone is flying near their property it could be watching them and that gives them the right to damage the drone to make sure it cannot continue to invade their privacy. But that is not the case.

If you damage someone’s drone in any way you could be facing a lawsuit for the value of the drone. I know it seems crazy that you could go to court over something like that but civil lawsuits have happened over this exact same thing in the past.

So if you believe a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) is flying too close to your house, property, etc. you should contact the local police and have them look into that.

It is possible that the drone operator is violating the restrictions that have been put into place by the FAA (such as keeping their drone in a visual line of sight) but it isn’t up to you to decide that. If you damage someone else’s property (whether unmanned air systems like a drone or their house) you could be liable in a court of law.

How To Keep Drones Off Your Property?

Let me reassure you that a drone is loud and you will most likely see it if it is spying on you. But what if your neighbor just won’t stop flying his drone directly over your house?

Or what if happens so often that it makes you fear that your privacy is being violated? 

If the drone is coming close to your house, windows, or doors then you need to contact law enforcement and report the issue. Your first thought might be to try and trap or destroy the drone but if you do that you will be breaking the law yourself. 

From getting a drone yourself to drone jamming systems, there are many ways you can keep drones away from your property but virtually all of those involve you breaking the law. 

Despite the drone being over your property that doesn’t give you the right to throw (or shoot) something at it to try and disable it. If you damage it you could be ticketed or even sued for destroying someone’s property. 

That is why if you feel like your privacy is being violated your first call should be to the police. 

Drone surveillance laws prohibit the use of drones on property that are a private nuisance, trespassing, or invasion of privacy. However, even if the other person is breaking the law that doesn’t mean you can turn around and do it too. 

If you are uncomfortable with the presence of a drone, reach out to the user to let them know. If this does not solve the problem, you can post signs on your property concerning the drones and of course, contact the police.

Where Can You Not Fly A Drone?

Drones are fun to fly and you can capture the most amazing images. If you are going to be piloting one of these robotic devices, it is important that know where you are not permitted to fly them.

There are several different locations where drones are not allowed to be flown. 

You should not fly your drone at populated places such as parks, beaches, and sporting events. You cannot fly the machine over 400 feet in the air since this may result in a collision with an airplane or interfere with radio transmissions. A drone should also never be flown in any area where it may interfere with emergency response.

Remember that a drone must always stay within your line of sight as well. Also, it is good to check up on and know what laws your state/city has concerning drones to know where and when to fly them. 

Some states or cities will have even more strict rules than the FAA regarding drone use so be sure and check the law before you take off. 

If you operate a drone properly you will enjoy the experience it has to offer but if you don’t follow the law you could end up with a ticket, your drone confiscated or both. 

In What States Can You Legally Fly A Drone?

Did you know that some countries have banned drones? Places like Argentina, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia do not allow drones to be flown in their country. 

By doing this, they wanted to get rid of possible drone issues altogether. Luckily, in the United States, we are allowed to fly a drone. It’s just one of the many freedoms we can enjoy here in America. 

You can legally fly drones in all 50 states however some states or cities have stricter rules about where exactly you can use a drone at 

Twenty-seven states do not have any laws concerning drones at all. There are eight states that do have laws specifically for drone use but none of them prohibit flying drones in the state. 

  • Florida, Idaho, Minnesota, and South Dakota- allowed emergency workers
  • Minnesota and Missouri – prohibit flying over some properties including correctional facilities for mental health institutes and open-air spaces like sports stadiums
  • Idaho and Minnesota – law enforcement may use drones for specific purposes like traffic crash reconstruction, search and rescue missions, and training purposes
  • Vermont – prohibits law enforcement from using drones with facial recognition except for search and rescue missions, or accessing natural disasters
  • Florida, Massachusetts, and Virginia – provide funds for drone programs
  • Virginia – localities can regulate the takeoff and landing of the drones on their property
  • South Dakota – federal offense to operate a drone, not in compliance with the FAA

Can Drones See At Night?

You are gazing up at the star-filled sky taking in the wonder of the constellations. A blinking light distracts you from your trance as you look to see where it is coming from. It is too small and too close to be an airplane. 

Then you realize, a drone has found its way across the night sky, lights shining as it hums its way across your sight. 

Drones can see at night but in order to see clearly or to take a clear picture or video there must be enough light and the drone must be at a close range.

The only way a drone would be able to see you clearly at night is if you are standing still in a well-lit area. If you are outdoors in an area with a lot of light then it has a good chance of seeing you if you are within 50 yards. 

If you are indoors, a drone would have to be 10 feet away and you would have to be standing right next to your window in a well-lit room for it to capture any clear images of you. 

The further away a drone gets, the more blurry the images will be especially at night. 

If a drone is close enough to be filming you, then you have a good chance of seeing it and even hearing it. Its lights and loud humming sound will be a dead giveaway of its whereabouts. 

But as was stated earlier in this article, contact authorities if you feel your privacy is being invaded by a drone. Most recreational drones flying at night are just wanting to capture a photograph of the city’s lights so they shouldn’t be close to your house at all. 


Drones are used for many purposes and one of them is just for fun. 

You are able to fly your drone over non-populated areas and as long as you are within the FAA rules and guidelines concerning drones then enjoy your flying as you experience new perspectives and reach for new heights with your drone.