Real estate drones grounded

An award-winning South Australian agency has been forced to ground its imported drone ‘quadricopters’ on the demand of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

Anthony Toop, managing director at Toop & Toop, told Real Estate Business the publicity associated with the agency’s use of drones, which are fitted with cameras to take aerial photos and footage of properties, alerted CASA to the technology being used for commercial use.

Mr Toop, who previously said the drones had been the single best investment he has ever made, explained that he was disappointed with CASA’s decision to outlaw drones for real estate use.  

"The drones are a big subject,” said Mr Toop. “We introduced them not just for photos but for video as well. We got some awesome footage, but we got quite a lot of publicity about them. We started with one, $1,000 was all it cost, so we ordered another two because they were incredible.

“Because of publicity around these shots, we had CASA send us a note stating that you can't do this. So if you're a child using one without a camera on it, go your hardest, but if you’re a real estate agent with a camera attached it’s illegal. Work that one out,” he added.

Mr Toop said the licencing requirements for the drones are very prohibitive, but Toop & Toop has managed to come up with an alternative while the drones remain out of the air.

“Never one to be beaten, we can share one thing with industry that you may not have thought of,” he said. “And that’s now you can get these very long poles, that are traditionally used for window washing of three story buildings. Agents can stick a camera on the top of that and you can essentially get over the top of things and get some of the same impact.”

However, Mr Toop believes it's only a matter of time before legislation catches up with technology and the drones will get the green light for commercial use in real estate.

“The drones will hit the air, they won’t go away, CASA will catch up with the legislation,” he said. “It moves so quickly they will catch up. Drones will be huge.”

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