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Electronic Key Control: What Property Owners Should Look For — Part 1

To maintain a competitive edge, you, as a property owner or manager, need to meet tenants’ priorities to keep your occupancy rates up. According to a survey by, safety is one of renters' top considerations when making a rental decision. That’s where electronic key control comes in.

Regulating the use of unit keys can help make tenants feel safe on your property — especially when you implement other security precautions, such as good lighting in parking lots and stairwells, locks on windows and deadbolts on doors.

To get the most value from your key control system investment, there are a few things you need to look for, which we'll discuss in this two-part series. We'll start with two features that can make or break the effectiveness of a key control system.


Data Collection Practices

In addition to protecting keys and assets by physically securing keys, electronic key control systems help keep employees accountable and reduce your property's liability risks by creating a verifiable audit trail of key activity. 

To maintain the integrity of system records, it’s important to make sure your key control system uses passive data collection methods versus active ones. Passive data collection methods capture transaction information as soon as a key is removed, but active data collection methods require users to manually record transaction details or initiate the data capture by a specific action such as scanning a key tag.

You should also find out whether data is stored locally on the system, on the vendor’s server or with another third party. If the data is stored off-site, ask if there are any data storage fees, and if so, how the fees are determined. If data is not stored directly on the system, know how you will access your data in the event that you lose Internet access.


Remote Management

If you need to centralize key management practices among multiple properties, one of the first things you should look for in a key control system is a remote management feature that allows you to access multiple systems by logging in to an online portal. 

From there, you should be able to run reports for each property and perform actions such as setting up users or entering asset data.

To find out what else you should look for in a multifamily key control system, check out Part 2 of our series.

Read More About Multifamily Key Control