Managing apartment buildings and other multifamily housing properties has changed because of the coronavirus. Although the pandemic won't last forever, it has permanently transformed how we live and do business. The changes it has forced companies to make will benefit everyone in the long run. That's why many are switching to contactless technologies.
COVID-19 isn't the only contagious illness. Others like colds, flu, chicken pox, and meningitis are contagious as well. Contactless technologies will help cut the likelihood of getting an infectious illness. In doing so, people will have fewer sick days at work and school. It'll help decrease illnesses among those living and working in an apartment building where you have many people moving about in a small space.
Many things in an apartment building require touch and interactions. Keys, doors, front desk staff, and tours of apartments to name a few. It's possible to provide a high level of customer service your tenants expect, and to do it with social distancing and contactless interactions in mind.
Even with the ability to do virtual tours, hunting for an apartment isn't an easy process. Not many people are going to sign a lease without seeing the apartment in person. Here's a true story that explains why.
Someone looked at temporary furnished apartments in a different state where they didn't reside. After reading the reviews and looking at the photos, the person reserved the apartment. Upon arrival, the family received a key and headed to their apartment. They noticed a sign that forbade marijuana in apartments and threatened a fee to those caught breaking the rule.
As soon as they approached their apartment, they knew they were in trouble. Despite property management's warning about marijuana, clearly the residents took to smoking in the hallway to keep the smell out of their apartment. Although no one was in the hallway, the family, including a minor, could smell it.
The apartment did not live up to the advertisement. It had broken shades, torn bedsheets, a stained blanket, and a TV that didn't work. This is exactly why people want to see the apartment before signing the lease. Besides, only one-quarter of those polled in an Entrata study said they signed a lease sight unseen.
Finding the right apartment takes a lot of time. Almost half of those surveyed search for an apartment while at work. Almost half took time off from work to search for an apartment. To make things more challenging for property managers, 40 percent of those surveyed in a Zogby Analytics study say they've passed on an apartment because they didn't have time to see it.
Moreover, almost one-third prefer a self-guided tour. They don't like being pressured or rushed by a salesperson. Besides, they often want to visit the apartment after business hours when the leasing office is closed.
How do you do a self-guided tour at a time of social distancing? An access control system makes it possible. You can issue a temporary PIN to the prospects and they can tour the apartment on their own. You don't have to waste time with no-shows. Prospects don't have to waste time tracking down an employee if no one is there to greet them. Best of all, it requires zero contact between the prospect and the employee.
You also get the added benefit of doing away with keys. No one has to share keys. You don't have to worry about whether a former tenant still has a copy of the key to the apartment. When a resident moves out, you don't have to pay to change the locks. With an access control system, you simply remove the access as soon as someone moves out.
What's more is that a Schlage Lock. Co. survey of adults aged 23 to 39 found that more than half want smart technologies for the home. This includes tech-based entry methods such as PIN codes, smartphones, and key fobs. More than 70 percent lived in an apartment at the time of the survey. It turns out only 26 percent feel secure in their current residences. That's why security is a top priority for these renters.
You may rely on employees to monitor the entrance and take care of any deliveries. In some cases, apartments assign a security guard at the front. This could put the employees, guard, delivery person, and residents at risk.
The less contact, the better. It's possible to maximize security while cutting risk with an integrated security system that contains an access control system and video cameras at the entry. As previously mentioned, an access control system can manage who has access to a specific apartment. It can also manage who can enter the building, offices, gym, laundry room, and other limited-access rooms.
With an access control system, you don't have to worry about rekeying the entry or office locks when someone leaves the company or is fired. If a former employee accidentally forgets to turn in the badge, you won't fret because you can remove access with a few clicks of the keyboard.
The video cameras can monitor the comings and goings at the entry. If someone is making a delivery, he or she can talk to the person on camera through a two-way speaker. The person can leave the package on the desk and someone on the inside can pick it up after the delivery person has left.
You may need a maintenance crew, a third-party vendor, or housekeeping to have temporary access. It would work the same way as giving a temporary PIN to a prospect who wants to tour the premises.
This same video surveillance system can protect the entire building and property.
The way remote video surveillance works is a security consultant installs high-definition video security cameras in strategic places around the property and parking lot. It's important to verify the cameras are high definition because they provide the clarity you need to capture identifying information, faces, license plates, and other information that could lead to an arrest.
Video surveillance records everything. It can give you the proof you need for incidents, crime, and liability claims. Someone may claim they broke his or her foot tripping on loose carpet at the property's entryway. Analysts can search the camera footage to find the incident in question and confirm whether or not the person got injured on the property.
Video surveillance allows property management to hire fewer employees or security guards. They save on costs and boost productivity because employees can focus on their more important tasks.
The presence of video cameras adds a layer of security in deterring criminals. For those who don't see the cameras or wear masks, the trained monitors will act to limit or prevent damage and apprehend the suspect.
Video surveillance with analytics and trained operators watch the property. The technology monitors for specific scenarios. As soon as a questionable one occurs, it notifies the operator who investigates it. If someone is doing something suspicious, the operator can alert the suspect on an on-site speaker system. This adds another layer of security and does scare away some people.
If the intruder does not run away, then the operator calls law enforcement and relays information about the situation. With law enforcement on its way, the operator can follow the suspect and keep the police apprised of the suspect's whereabouts.
At some point, the pandemic will come to an end. Social distancing will be a thing of the past. However, the need for security and contactless technology will not change. Property managers will no longer have to keep track of many keys or worry about changing the locks after an employee or tenant leaves.
Contactless technology such as access control also makes it possible for prospects to tour the apartment without the need for an employee. Many prospects prefer to tour on their own without the pressure of sales.
An integrated security system can provide a fast return on security investment. When you combine video surveillance and access control, you gain the best of both worlds: contactless technology and security.
The right security vendor can customize an integrated security solution based on your business needs. You should not have to pay for more than you need.
What's the right solution for you? Security requirements vary from industry to industry as well as within a single industry. The requirements for securing apartment buildings and condos are not going to be the same. To learn more about this, download your free copy of Complete Guide to Securing Your Apartment Building.
The guide dives into how you can implement effective apartment building security while protecting your employees and residents, as well as gaining other benefits. It also lists four lines of defense for maximizing apartment building security. You'll learn how to choose the right security solution without overpaying for it. Ready to learn more? Contact us.