Can I Fly A Drone In My Neighborhood? A Handy Guide To Drone Laws


You just bought a drone and are excited to get it in the air! 

But you’ve heard all the issues associated with flying drones and are wondering, can I fly a drone in my neighborhood?  

Fortunately, in some local jurisdictions, you can fly a drone in your neighborhood. However, you must follow all the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) guidelines. Plus, check local laws before flying drones in residential areas.

To check if it’s legal to fly in your neighborhood, install the B4UFLY mobile application by the FAA. You can also check GEO System software for DJI drones. 

Alternatively, you can operate your drone not more than 400 ft above the ground (AGL) in non-restricted airspace.

That said, follow this guide to learn more about flying your drone. 

How To Check If It Is Legal To Fly In Your Neighborhood

You can fly your drone in your neighborhood, however, there are certain FAA-controlled areas such as airports and Washington D.C., where even if you’re in a residential area it’s not legal to fly there. 

The FAA issued guidelines against flying in these no-fly zones regardless of being in your neighborhood. 

Some of these rules against flying drones in restricted areas require that:

  • You refrain from flying above 100 mph
  • You don’t fly above uncontrolled airspace or 400 ft from the ground
  • You avoid flying over moving vehicles or people
  • You don’t fly at night
  • Your drone remains visible to you or an observer at all times
  • You avoid interfering with emergency response or manned aircraft

Also, make sure there aren’t any significant events happening that day, such as sporting events or parades. 

And even if you’re a skilled drone pilot, keep an eye out for low-flying planes. You must be careful because they could get tangled up with your flight path. 

Two Ways To Check If It’s Legal To Fly In Your Neighborhood

B4UFLY app screenshots
Source: Aloft

First, you can download the B4UFLY mobile application from the FAA. This application is available for both Android and iOS users. While using the application, you can move the location pin to ascertain which locations to fly safely.

You can also input your address to check where you can legally fly your drone. Restricted areas are covered with a dark circle, while uncontrolled airspaces have a clear one. 

Do you know what’s better? 

The B4UFLY application features an interactive map and information regarding other controlled airspaces. You can also access a preflight planning feature through the website.

Alternatively, if you’re operating a DJI drone, use the GEO system to guide you on where to fly.

Unlike the B4UFLY application, this built-in software automatically restricts DJI drones from flying into any restricted airspace. 

For example, if you try to launch your drone within controlled airspace, your drone won’t launch.

Can A Drone Fly Around My House? 

Yes, with your permission, a drone can fly around your house and no one should hover drones around your house without asking for permission. 

Nevertheless, should you notice a neighbor flying without your consent, approach them and share your concerns. If they don’t cooperate, consider going to the local authorities or taking legal action against them. 

Is It Legal to Fly Over Your Neighbor’s Property?

While there isn’t a simple answer to this question, if you know the laws that apply to your location, you can avoid getting in trouble with the law and have fun flying your drone! 

This is because drone laws vary by location and time of day or season.

In many states across the US, you can’t use a drone in a way that infringes on privacy. Therefore, try checking for guidelines on whether you can fly a drone over houses within your state.

Sometimes it can be tricky to deal with some neighbors, right?

Don’t you worry!

Here are handy tips to help you fly your drone safely without becoming a nuisance in your neighborhood.

  1. Consult Civilian Aviation Authority for Guidance

Before flying your drone in the neighborhood, seek clear guidelines from the FAA. It will help you get things right. 

You can fly a drone within your area but stick by the local regulations. Some rules to adhere to here include flying your drone in the daytime.

  1. Seek consent from your neighbor

Always contact your neighbor before flying over their property. It will help you avoid getting caught up with difficult questions or legal battles. Alerting your neighbor so that they’re aware will help foster good relationships. 

Your neighbor will also appreciate that you value their right to privacy.

Otherwise, not all people enjoy drones flying in their neighborhoods.

Consequently, clarify your intention for flying and assure the neighbor that your actions won’t harm them. Whether you’re flying your drone for fun or otherwise, be sure to ask for permission from your neighbor. 

Most importantly, avoid flying your drone at night or under the influence. 

Can you Fly A Drone Over Private Property In Oklahoma?

Drone pilots in Oklahoma are subjected to very strict regulations. 

drone flying in oklahoma law

According to the HB 2591 – Labeled Information Act, you are not allowed to intentionally fly a drone over someone’s property for an altitude less than 1320 feet.

That means that if you need to fly over your neighbor’s property, you have to ascend to 1320 feet. If you violate this law, you could be fined $500 or spend up to 1 year in jail.

You are only allowed to fly over private property if you are working on behalf of the federal government or law enforcement agencies.

If you are in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and E), you should not fly above 400 feet, which means if you are not in violation of flying over private property, you may be in violation by flying too high in some parts of Oklahoma.

A fine and possible jail time aren’t the only factors you should be worried about.

A property owner or manager is also allowed to destroy, which may include shooting down, a drone without being civilly liable for the damages caused. 

For more information, also read: What Happens To A Drone When You Fly Above 400 Feet?

Where Else To Fly Your Drone Apart From Your Neighborhood?

Fly Over Your Backyard

Other places for flying drones

Your backyard is a perfect spot to practice flying your drone. After learning the ropes, you can start flying above 50 ft while ensuring you don’t lose sight of your drone.

It’s worth noting that mastering drone flying skills could take some time.

Practice Flying In An Open Field 

An open field near you with no people or obstructions, such as tall trees, is ideal for beginner pilots. It’s essential to try this out, especially while flying for recreational purposes.

You should be keen, though, not to violate people’s privacy by flying too close to their nearby property. 

Enjoy Flying Your Drone Over A River

If you’re an experienced drone pilot, you’ll want to try this one out. If you wish to take your photography to the next level or enjoy beautiful sceneries along the river bank, flying along a river is phenomenal. 

Nevertheless, avoid flying near restricted airspaces like airports built near a river. Besides, some seaports are built near riverways, hence need to adhere to FAA rules on flying drones. 

Fly Like An Expert Pilot In The Wilderness Areas Of National Forests

While the National Park Service restricts drone flying, national forests don’t. Flying through the wilderness can be challenging unless you’re an expert. You can enjoy maneuvering through the obstacles without damaging your precious drone.

If you’re around West Virginia, you can visit Monongahela National Forest and put your prowess drone flying skills to the test.

Can You Fly A Drone Over Private Property In Washington State?

drone flying in washington state law

In Washington state, you can’t fly your drone over any private property without the owner’s consent. 

While drones for professional and recreational use are allowed, they’re subject to FAA and local government regulations. If you are flying your drone for recreational purposes, you can only fly within 400 feet of your position and not over private property or an open-air assembly of people.

Can I Fly A Drone In My Neighborhood In Florida?

In what the state of Florida calls unwarranted surveillance, flying a drone over private property or neighborhood without written consent is prohibited. 

Thankfully, there’s a provision to seek permission from the neighborhood to enjoy flying your drone.

Frequently Asked Questions


Enjoyable and fulfilling as flying drones is, the FAA has strict rules about what you can do with them. 

You can fly in unrestricted airspace and in your neighborhood as long as you follow local and federal laws. Avoid flying over neighbors’ houses without consent, and avoid flying too high (above 400 ft) to avoid interfering with other aircraft. 

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Peter Karanja is a licensed drone pilot from Kenya, freelance writer and drone enthusiast. He has been using drones for land survey, GIS, and photography for the past three years. Being a drone user, he loves writing about drone applications, safety tips for using drones, and the best ways to get the most out of a drone.

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