Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Are Your RV Dealership's Keys Reasonably Secured Against Misuse?

New RVs at a dealershipA 10-ton motorhome piloted by an inexperienced RV driver can be plenty dangerous on the highways. Now imagine that motorhome is being driven by somebody who stole it right off your RV dealership's lot. The damage and injuries caused by the thief are going to make for some ugly news headlines.

Who is going to be held responsible for this wild joyride when the dust settles? The thief will certainly get a fair share of the blame. But if you didn't take reasonable measures to secure your keys, headlines that damage your dealership's reputation won't be your only problem.

Protecting your inventory — from camper trailers all the way up to Ferrari-priced Class A motorhomes — is probably already a priority at your dealership. That's why you likely have fences, padlocked gates and maybe even a lockbox for keys. But even those security measures can fall short against determined thieves.

Fences and padlocks didn't stop thieves from driving three RVs worth almost $2 million off a dealership lot late one night in Colorado. Dealership management told a local news station that the thieves had to have had a plan in place. Even if your keys are secure, do you know who has access to them and when they're taken?

Thieves in Arizona got a little bit luckier when they took two motorhomes that had been on display at a local mall. They keys to the RVs were left locked inside by dealership employees. Even basic security practices won't be enough if you make it easy for a thief to access keys and make a clean getaway.

The situation can careen even more out of control if the fleeing criminal is involved in accidents while driving the stolen motorhome. No bystanders were hurt during a high-speed police chase with a stolen RV in California, but the dealer could still have faced civil liability for damage, injuries or death caused by the thief in the stolen RV.

If a motorhome stolen from your dealership is involved in an accident or causes damages, the loss of the asset, insurance deductibles and increased premiums won't be your only concerns. What steps have you taken to make sure your keys don't fall into the wrong hands?

Monday, December 4, 2017

Is Poor Key Security Scaring off Tenants?

Agent giving keys to tenant
Having a list of amazing amenities and well-maintained units is great for attracting new tenants to your multifamily property, but what they see on the surface might not be enough to get them to renew once they've experienced how your property is managed.

If you're not doing enough to keep your tenants and their property safe or to provide them with good, efficient service, they could be looking for somewhere else to live when their lease is over.

Here are a couple tips for making your property a place tenants want to stay.

Keep Tenants and Their Keys Safe

How you treat keys to your units plays a big role in providing both security and good service. If your key security is falling short, you're leaving your tenants vulnerable to potential thefts and violent crimes. Employees misusing keys can also be a problem. For example, a Seattle woman recently caught a property's assistant manager stealing cash from her apartment.

Your property needs a secure and efficient way to manage your keys. Whatever method you choose to keep your keys safe, be sure you have a way of tracking who has keys and when. Handwritten logs are one way to track keys, but an electronic system that automatically records that information based on login credentials would give you a more accurate and easy-to-manage audit trail.

Reduce Your Liability

Poorly maintained or nonexistent key security and access logs can leave you open to lawsuits. It can also send a message to your tenants that you don't care about their safety — or your own liability. In the event that an access incident does happen, such as an employee who used a key without a proper reason or authorization, you need to be able to respond.

By tracking every key and all access to your property, you can answer any concerns about access that a tenant might have and reduce your liability. With a key control system that automatically logs access, you'll have a verifiable audit trail to determine if an employee had the key at the time in question. Having access to this information will also help hold your employees accountable for what they do with keys when they have them.

Manage Packages Better

The winter holidays are here, and your office is probably already inundated with boxes and boxes of online orders piling up in a back room (or worse, in the middle of your leasing office). Your staff already has their normal daily duties, but now they have to keep track of who's been notified about their packages, if a package has been retrieved and who needs to be notified again — all on top of making sure packages don't go to the wrong people or get lost.

Consider using a system that easily tracks packages as soon as your office receives them. You should be able to quickly create a record of the package, scan its information and have the system automatically notify tenants via email or text message. Then the tenants must sign for the package, ensuring the packages go to the right people. this will keep you from having a pile of boxes disrupting your regular office functions during the holiday season.

Managing properties, especially multifamily communities, requires juggling a lot of different components. How do you keep your property running smoothly and your tenants happy?