20 years ago, people would have thought we were crazy, but one of the most asked questions of this year has been about land- specifically in the vertical direction. This is ofcorse because of the rise of commercial drones- and although new lisencing laws are coming into effect in the UK- they still fail to address the question: how much do you own above and below your house?
Below is a much more simple answer than above, so we’ll start with that. Aren’t I kind? Officially, the law states that any land on your property, from ground height to the core of the Earth is yours to keep. What you don’t own, however, are the mineral rights under your property.
This means that although you own the land, you can still be fined if you damage a company’s mining equipment, or try and mine for coal without a permit. In summary, the land is yours, but make sure you have a lisence before trying to extract any minerals from under your house- I know it’s tempting…
Due to the Civil Aviation Act of 1982, there is a consensus that you own approximately 5000-1000 feet above your property in the UK. In America this is roughly 5000 feet, however it has never been officially clarified by a court of law. There have also been notable exceptions to this rule.
For example, in 1945, Thomas Lee Causby sued the US Goverment for flying too close to where his chickens were kept. He claimed that the noise of the aircrafts were causing his chickens to run into walls and injure themselves. It was therefore ruled that aircrafts must fly a suitable distance away from his property so that his chickens could enjoy a stress free life (as far as airspace was concerned)!
In short 500 feet is the accepted amount of airspace you own above your property, however this is more than often amended if a problem arises. However, with more problems arising due to commercial drones, I would agree with others that there must be some accommodation in these laws for drones- and their implication on people’s privacy…