Access Control For Property Management

Often, building and facilities owners rely on property managers to oversee all tenant and building services. These include, among other things, leasing and rent collection, advertising and marketing, building maintenance and upkeep of  grounds, efficient delivery of utilities and other tasks involved in the day-to-day operations of the facilities.  A system providing access control for property management can greatly increase efficiency and reduce costs.

Perhaps one of the most important services that a property manager provides is ensuring the safety and security of the general facility, including common areas and tenant spaces.  Therefore access control and property management go hand and hand in helping to provide security that is crucial in doing a good job as a property manager, and helps both property owners and tenants.

Property managers are called upon to oversee the operations of variety of multi tenant commercial facilities. Some examples are:

  • Office buildings
  • Commercial Real Estate
  • Retail Space
  • School campuses
  • Warehouses
  • Parking facilities

Property management is not only limited to commercial spaces. Owners or homeowners associations hire property managers to care for residential spaces such as:

  • Apartment buildings
  • Dormitories
  • Gated communities
  • Vacation homes and condominiums

These present a number of challenges that need to be managed effectively:

Tenant Turnover. In any rented space — commercial or residential, occupant turnover is inevitable. The coming and going of tenants creates a physical security problem. Each time a tenant leaves, the property manager needs to collect the keys. As added security, locks must be changed quickly to prevent ex-tenants from re-entering the facilities. This could be a costly exercise.

Locked out Tenants.  This is another inevitability. The most frequent calls that property managers receive are from tenants locked out of their residential or commercial units.  This  requires that a property management representative  meet up with the tenant to unlock the door.

Access for Service Providers.  Often property managers hire service providers – cleaning crews, maintenance personnel, painters or plumbers, etc.  Ideally, their movement in the facility should be controlled and restricted to only certain areas of the building and they should only gain access within a specified period of time.

Security for Shared Entrances and Shared Areas.  In a multi-tenant facility, managing access privileges for entrances and shared areas can be a challenge. This is especially true for a commercial building. When a tenant, for example, hires or fires an employee, the property manager needs to be updated so that access privileges to shared entrances and areas can be updated as well. This needs to be done in timely manner because this can be a critical safety issue.

Because of the many challenges that property managers face to ensure security within the facility or complex, a good access control system would be one of their most important safeguard against safety threats.

Access Control For Property Management

System Options

Master Key System

A master key system involves several individual keys for individual doors, a master key to open all doors, and even sub-master levels. These systems are used for facilities where tenants only need access to specific areas. These systems rely on mechanical locks and physical keys and may sometimes be compromised with one missing key. And necessitates a locksmith changing the locks.

However, recent advances to the older “key” systems have given birth to the computerized master key system which provide easy admittance and restriction while eliminating the need for multiple physical keys per person.

With a computerized master key system, computer software is used to keep track of all the keys used in the system. Keys are code stamped with an ID label and this makes it possible to keep accurate records of keys. This allows addition, deletion or changes to the master key system.

Electronic Access Control Systems (Keyless Access Control)

Property managers are increasingly turning to electronic or computerized access control systems to manage ingress and egress into their properties. These involve ID cards or codes that are electronically linked to individuals. These can be programmed to allow or restrict access to specific individuals at specific times.

Advantages of Electronic Access Control For Property Management

1. Access Control. With an access control system, there are several options that can be used – FID key fob, swipe key card, pin, or biometrics. The need for traditional keys is eliminated.  Because they are harder to duplicate than traditional keys, the risk of a security breach is significantly reduced.

Furthermore, each access credential (key card, fob, pin, or biometric access) is unique and can be programmed for each individual.  This allows property managers to grant or limit access depending on who is holding the access card.

2. Maximum Control.  A master system controls all doors. This means that access to all doors is closely monitored. An audit of who entered which door at what time is kept and reports can be generated at any time.

An electronic access control system provides the capability to limit access of people to areas that they are allowed to be in. Practical applications of this might be for cleaning crews, as an example. They could be given access only to areas that need to be cleaned and only within a certain time period.

Additionally, the electronic access control master system makes it possible to give or withdraw access to people with more ease. This would apply  to a tenant or an employee of a tenant leaving, for instance. It only takes minutes to modify access to the building or facility without having to think about changing locks or keys.

3. Flexibility: an electronic access control system can be used for both external and internal access control.

External control is for those facilities which aim to control or limit entry to buildings, locations, and areas.  Examples might be particular storage facilities, specific buildings in a community or commercial space, and parking lots.

Internal control refers to access to areas within a building once external access has been granted. This might be to control access to such areas as supply rooms or areas where sensitive information is stored. Other practical applications include apartments or condominiums where tenants use access cards in elevators and are given access only to floors they occupy and to public areas such as the gym, pool area, restaurant and the lobby.

4. Generation of audit trails.   Electronic access control systems have the capability of keeping records of ingress and egress with corresponding times. Audit trails become especially useful when a security breach or incident has occurred that can be narrowed down to a specific time period. A review of records will show who entered the building corresponding to the time of the incident.

What specific information is kept by the system?

  • Date and time card was read
  • Name of card holder/pin owner
  • Unique ID number or badge number
  • Name of door or reader being accessed
  • Access granted/denied condition

An electronic access control system has the capability to store information up to several years.

5. Ease of Integration. Electronic access control systems can be integrated with other security products such as a surveillance system and an intercom system. For a property manager, this creates a centralized security management solution.

6. Ease in management of database. Electronic access systems have information stored on a centrally managed database, the most efficient being in the cloud. As added security and accountability, only a few select people have authorization to access the database. These select few have the capability of accessing it remotely from any computer allowed on the network with proper credentials.  This makes it possible to remotely grant access to locked-out tenants, for example.

Types of Electronic Access Control Systems

  1. Access Control Keypad. Passwords or PINS are used and are entered on a keypad
  2. Access Control Card Reader. Individuals are issued key cards or fobs and are used on a card reader to gain entry.
  3. Biometric Access Control. A human characteristic such as a fingerprint is used to access credential.

There are a variety of options that property managers can choose from to manage access to their facilities or complexes.  The size of the property, their needs and budget dictate the choice of access control system.

Action 1st Loss Prevention specializes in working with property management companies. We offer commercial access control security systems from the most basic to the very sophisticated. Whether you are looking for simple electronic access control for your building or a complex, or network-controlled system capable of tracking and monitoring access for international building locations, Action 1st Loss Prevention can help.

Call us today for a free onsite review and estimate.

Tags: access control for property management, property manager, access control, master key system