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Section 333 Waivers

February 27, 2015

Many real estate agents have expressed an interest in using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to take pictures and videos of their listings to show to clients. Currently, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits the use of UAVs for commercial purposes unless the user applies for and receives a waiver from the FAA.  Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA) (PDF) allows the FAA to grant case-by-case authorization for certain unmanned aircraft to perform commercial operations. 

If granted, the waiver provides a limited-use permit to the applicant. Many of the waivers that have been granted have come with many restrictions on the use of the machine.  Potential applicants are advised that obtaining the Section 333 waiver does not entitle the permit holder to unlimited use of UAV technology.

The waiver is a stop-gap measure for the commercial drone industry to use until the FAA’s proposed rules become final.

The FAA has approved waivers for several companies using UAVs for different purposes. This list is a non-exhaustive roster of companies who have waivers and who have identified real estate purposes in their applications. Appearance on this list does not constitute an endorsement of the company by NAR. More information can be found on www.faa.gov/uas.

PLEASE NOTE: NAR does not recommend members use UAVs to take pictures or video of a property for a listing, or hire a third party to take pictures or video until the FAA has clear regulations for the use of UAVs or the user has received a waiver from the FAA.

NAR Staff Contacts:

Russell Riggs, 202-383-1259, rriggs@realtors.org;

Stephanie Spear, 202-383-1018, sspear@realtors.org;

Lesley Walker, 312-329-8834, lwalker@realtors.org