There are few things worse for your property's reputation than a string of break-ins. Except, of course, when, instead of using a crowbar, the assailant uses keys to enter your residents' apartments, like at one upscale apartment complex in Boston, which reported at least five break-ins with no sign of forced entry. It was immediately obvious to police that the thief had access to a set of the apartment's keys.
One victim paints a terrifyingly realistic scenario: "What if I had been home when someone came in?" she said. "It is a very unsettling situation, and I don't think the management company has done much to address it."
She told reporters that she planned to move out, despite the fact that the property manager had just completed the expensive and time-consuming process of rekeying all the locks.
This story teaches us three things:
Residents Don't Quickly Forgive and Forget
Once you compromise your residents' safety, it's difficult to gain back their trust. Not only will they not easily forgive the lapse in security, they won't stay quiet about it. As the popular saying goes, bad news travels faster than good. Would you move into a property if you heard that it had a history of poor key management?
Property Managers Must Have a Reliable Key Control Process
Leaving residents' keys unsecured or failing to track who has access to keys could be grounds for a negligent security lawsuit. To avoid liability, it's important to tightly secure the keys that unlock your residents' homes.
Installing a Key Management System Is Better Than the Alternative
Between the damaged reputation and cost of rekeying every apartment, losing control of keys is expensive. To protect your property and residents from key management disasters, consider an electronic key control system that keeps a verifiable record of key transactions and automatically controls users' access to keys. If you're curious about what key control mistakes you could be making that are leaving your property open to liability, check out our whitepaper.