What can I do about a neighbor’s drone invading my property?

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What can I do about a neighbor’s drone invading my property?

I have some neighbor who lives up the hill from me, and who I know got a drone recently, because I see him flying it from time to time. This morning at 2:00 am they were flying the drone around my house looking into, windows, not just 20 feet away like I keep reading, but right up to within a foot of the windows and switching to different angles to see more inside. I heard about a man who was arrested for shooting a drone down when it was spying on his daughters, so does that mean we don’t have the right to privacy anymore? I reported it to the police and they basically blew it off. What are my rights in this situation?

Asked on August 13, 2016 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You could make a legal case for "trespass" since the drone is flying over your yard and outside the bounds of your neighbor’s property. While a homeowner doesn't necessarily own all of the air rights above their property, typically they do own the immediate air rights surrounding the top of their home. Therefore, as the homeowner, you could argue that the flight constitutes a trespass.
Additionally, you may also have a cause of action known as "nuisance". You could argue that the nuisance is the noise of the drone which is disrupting the quiet use and enjoyment of your premises.
Finally, there is the possibility that the drone might have a camera installed on it which would allow your neighbor to hover over your yard and snoop on your activities. This might give rise to a cause of action against your neighbor for "invasion of privacy".
At this point, you should consult directly with an attorney regarding the facts surrounding your situation. They can best advise you further.

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You might want to consider a lawsuit for trespass.  Trespass is the volitional entry on to the property of another without consent or legal privilege.
Trespass is not limited to a person entering your property, but includes causing an object to enter your property.


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