Posts with tag: home security

The key to landlord success during COVID: Remote capabilities

Published On: February 1, 2021 at 9:17 am

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Categories: Property News

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The following article is a guest post from OpenPath on why remote security management is a smart investment for landlords during COVID and beyond.

Openpath, a leading provider of mobile and cloud-based access control solutions, shares how “access from anywhere” is shifting the rental mindset post-COVID.

Every landlord understands how vital security is to managing a property. Especially in multi-family residential buildings, where there are potentially hundreds of people coming and going every day, keeping the community safe is always top of mind. Not only is security important for asset protection, it’s actually an amenity renters seek out when looking for a new home.

Landlords can’t be at their properties 24/7, and round-the-clock security staffing can be difficult to manage. However, with new developments in security and safety technology, managing a property’s security system can now be done entirely remotely. This is especially helpful for maintaining security while coping with COVID-related restrictions at residential properties. Remote capabilities improve physical security at residential rental communities, without sacrificing convenience or safety, both for residents and staff.

And now, while the rental market is just starting to recover from a rough year, a more modern security system can attract new renters, and it can also help make properties safer, even when you’re not there.

Track and manage occupancy for community spaces

With social distancing required at many popular gathering spaces, including within residential communities and apartment complexes, being able to limit and control capacity is key to ensuring resident safety during COVID. In order to control occupancy in community spaces, such as pools, gyms, mailrooms, and lounges or multi-purpose spaces, landlords can utilise web and app-based tenant portals and remote-managed access control systems:

  • Set capacity limits on community spaces within the access control system’s dashboard. Once the specified zone is at capacity, no additional residents will be able to enter until somebody leaves.
  • Require residents to pre-register for community access for pools, gyms, and lounges via an online portal. With the tenant portal linked to access credentials, only approved residents will have access to the space. This minimises the work needed for on-site staff as well, eliminating cumbersome lists and manually programming credentials.
  • Permissions can be easily adjusted for residents or staff with a cloud-based access control system to accommodate special access requests or schedule changes.

With remote access to the entire security system, it’s easier for security teams and property managers to make adjustments at any time, whether they need to close the space entirely, change the capacity limit, or unlock the door remotely for a resident. Remote management also gives landlords and security teams visibility into occupancy in real-time, plus detailed reporting to track usage over time. This is helpful for noticing trends in peak occupancy, and determining when to best schedule maintenance around the property, and can also aid in contact tracing.

Improve issue response time

Often, one of the biggest challenges for any multi-family residential property is being able to respond to security issues quickly and efficiently. While remote management may seem like a deterrent in this goal, the opposite holds true. Empowering property administrators with remote access to the entire security system means 24/7 monitoring capabilities from anywhere. Plus, with cloud-based systems that run on open architecture, there’s the possibility of automating processes to reduce the manual work required to provide an efficient, timely response. In the case of an unauthorised entry attempt, here’s how that might look:

  • If the access control system receives a repeat attempt at accessing the lobby door after-hours with an unauthorised credential, the nighttime security team will receive texts alerting them to the issue, and an email notification goes out to all building staff automatically. The attempts are also recorded into the system’s activity log.
  • When integrated with cloud-based security cameras and VMS, the security teams can check the video footage of the incident remotely. This provides visual verification of who is at the door, and helps security teams determine next steps.
  • With the ability to remotely unlock the door, security teams can let the resident in, and fix any issues with the credential without having to set foot on the property. The resident isn’t left locked out for long periods of time, and the building’s security was never compromised.
  • If the event is more dire, such as a forced entry or door left ajar, it’s easy to make important, split-second decisions such as locking down the community, alerting residents to an intruder, or notifying local authorities.

In the event of an emergency, building managers need to act fast. With access control systems that feature remote lockdown capabilities, every door can be locked in a matter of seconds, with just a few taps on any internet-connected device. With the right automations in place, an activated alarm in the complex can trigger an alert sent to admins, who can check the status of the alarm and building remotely, activate a system-wide lockdown, and automatically notify emergency responders of the incident.

With all access events and footage logged in the system, it’s also easier to audit security problems, and provide the necessary information to authorities in case of a break-in or property damage.

Centralising management for multiple buildings

Many residential landlords operate multiple complexes, which presents its own set of management challenges. Remote security management is an excellent way to protect every building in a portfolio. Because each building has unique characteristics that need to be addressed separately, it’s smart to invest in a robust security system that has flexible configurations and an easy-to-navigate interface. With a cloud-based solution, landlords can manage every building on one secure, convenient platform, from anywhere in the world.

  • Rather than using disparate systems for each building, a cloud-based option that consolidates the entire security platform onto one interface gives better awareness of what’s happening at all of the properties at one time. Easy search filters make it quick and efficient to find specific information, and detailed reporting can give a unique picture of each building separately, or the entire portfolio.
  • One, centralised security platform minimises the need for additional on-site security staff, and creates a more unified team. This is especially helpful when adhering to COVID-related occupancy restrictions in on-site office spaces. A remote access control system and security platform allows for a more dispersed team, and makes it easier to accommodate flexible scheduling and staggered shifts.
  • When door schedules need to be changed, or permissions adjusted, it’s all easily configurable from any device. Even issuing and revoking credentials is instant over the cloud, with site-specific permissions available to cater to each building’s staff and residents.

How remote technology improves ROI

While the benefits of a remote security management system during COVID are clear, it’s important to consider how these investments will hold up over time. Technology that is adaptable provides more flexibility. For example, updating cloud-based software solutions doesn’t require any in-person maintenance or technicians on the property—it’s all done over-the-air, minimising system downtime. It’s more convenient, often more cost-effective, and improves building security by providing the most up-to-date features and capabilities instantly.

Occupancy tracking and remote capabilities are also powerful tools in space optimisation, well after social distancing guidelines begin to relax. Analysing occupancy for community spaces over time can inform decisions about what equipment or furniture is needed, how often to clean, and if any changes to staffing are needed, all down to the hour. All of this equates to residential communities that are safer, more efficient, and more sustainable with less investment.

Key takeaways for landlords: increased safety and peace of mind

While the rental sector was not immune to the effects of COVID-19, there is still hope for improvement over the next few years. In their 2020 report, CBRE cites an estimated £40bn in multifamily equity investment last year as a sign of stability in that sector. A strong multifamily sector, however, means competition for landlords, who will need to show good faith that they are acting on behalf of residents’ safety and wellbeing. Both prospective and current residents appreciate modern physical security upgrades, especially when it doesn’t interfere with their day-to-day. Features like touchless elevators and entry via their mobile phones, capacity limits for amenities, and 24/7 controlled access help residents (and often staff!) feel like the building is a healthier, safer space.

In order for landlords to take full advantage of this upswing, they need to invest in the right safety and security technology. Even as concerns begin to shift away from COVID, remote security management is a tool that helps future-proof residential and apartment communities, while providing all-important peace of mind for both renters and landlords.

About the Author

marketing@openpath.com

Andi Hendrickson is the Marketing Copywriter for Openpath Security, a leading provider of cloud-based and mobile access control solutions for commercial property, enterprise, and small businesses around the world.

Millennials are Sloppy on Home Security, Suggests Study

Published On: November 8, 2016 at 10:11 am

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Categories: Property News

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Millennials are more likely to be sloppy with home security than their elders, according to a new study by Ocean Finance.

The research found that one in ten millennials admit that they are unsure about who has keys to their home.

The firm questioned households about who else had keys to their home, beside the people who live there.

Over three quarters (77%) of adults admit that they have given keys to other people, while one in five have given out two or more sets of keys.

Who holds the key?

Millennials are Sloppy on Home Security, Suggests Study

Millennials are Sloppy on Home Security, Suggests Study

Overall, we are most likely to give keys to other (non-resident) members of our family. However, neighbours, cleaners and dog walkers all routinely hold keys to our homes.

Around 70% of us give keys to family members that don’t live with us, while almost a fifth (19%) give their neighbours a key.

Perhaps surprisingly, 20% of millennials give keys to a cleaner, compared to just 2% of those aged 55 or over.

Almost one in ten (8%) Londoners gives a key to their dog walker.

Overall, 2% of adults admit that they don’t know who has keys to their home, compared to 10% of millennials.

Change the locks 

Most adults (60%) don’t bother changing the locks when they move into a new home, meaning that they can’t say for certain who has access to their property.

However, homeowners are more likely to be concerned with home security, with half (49%) saying they changed the locks when they moved into a new home.

Contrastingly, just one in three tenants changed the locks when they moved into their rental property. While tenants do have the right to change the locks of their home, some tenancy agreements state that the landlord must be informed and given a set of keys.

Worryingly, however, just 12% of tenants are aware that their landlord has keys to their home.

Ocean Finance’s Ian Williams says: “Most, if not all, Brits would say securing their home was very important to them. So it’s really odd that we don’t take the basic precaution in changing the locks. We seem prepared to take it on trust that the previous occupiers and the estate or letting agents have given us all the copies of the keys.

“For many of us, people come and go from our homes even when we aren’t there. Cleaners, dog walkers, child-minders and tradesmen all routinely have access to our homes.”

Landlords, make sure that you inform your tenants of the importance of home security before and during the tenancy.

In order to protect your tenants and property, always explain the many ways that your new renters can look after themselves and their home, and remember to conduct periodic inspections to ensure that the property is in a good condition.

These top tips will also help to prevent burglaries this winter: https://blog.upad.co.uk/blog/top-tips-this-winter-to-avoid-being-the-victim-of-burglary

Looking After Your Home While on Holiday

Published On: August 13, 2016 at 8:32 am

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Categories: Property News

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You might have heard horror stories about people who travelled for a holiday and came back to a home in a mess. Sometimes, there is news of a break-in. Sometimes there has been a fire, flood, or other incident when away.

Holidays should be about relaxing and recharging, not experiencing unnecessary headaches on your return. If you have plans to leave town for any amount of time, adopt these simple precautions to ensure that your home is safe and you have peace of mind.

It is always a good idea to turn all plug sockets off and turn the mains water off before you travel, as this can eliminate the cause of most water and fire issues. You main not be able to turn of the mains electricity at the circuit board if you are using timed lights.

Most break-ins occur because there are tell-tale signs that no one is home. The idea is to travel without making it obvious to likely perpetrators that your home is unguarded.

Do the following:

  1. Cancel your regular deliveries and services

Don’t forget to call in the newspaper, milk or grocery company and suspend delivery for the duration of your trip. If you don’t do this, your deliveries may well pile up in front of your home, letting people know that the house is empty.

The same goes for your mail – if you are going to be unavailable for an extended period, ask the post office to hold your mail.

  1. Talk to your trusted neighbours

Looking After Your Home While on Holiday

Looking After Your Home While on Holiday

You probably have neighbours with whom you maintain a good relationship. Ask them nicely to take out your rubbish bins (or do this before you leave), hold your mail or feed your pets.

Inform them about your trip, when you will be back, and how to reach you if there is an emergency at your property.

Of course, remember to bring a little something for them from your trip.

  1. Lock down the hatches

Make sure your back and side entrances are shut and properly locked, especially all windows. Set your alarm if you own one, or think about getting a false one – they give unwanted visitors the impression that your home is secure.

Don’t leave your spare set of keys where you usually hide them (under the flower pot or door ledge).

Switch on your sensor lights and take away ladders and gardening tools or anything else that will make it easier for a burglar to get in.

Take your valuables along with you or lock them away in a bolted down safe.

  1. Give the impression you are home

Switch on the timer lights, so that they automatically come on for a limited period in the evenings. If you aren’t travelling with your car, leave it in the driveway.

Get a friend to mow your lawn or house sit on the occasional night. Some people even hang some clothes on the line, so it looks like they are still home.

  1. Halt work on your property

Try not to make a trip if you have some major renovation projects at your home.

  1. Be careful about broadcasting your travel plans

Social media is a fun place to share regular updates, however, it can also backfire. Refrain from telling everybody about the details of your trip. Don’t tell people you don’t know that you are going away – they may take the opportunity to arrange a burglary; exercise a little caution.

Finally, update your insurance to cover your home while you are away.

Then… Enjoy your trip!

Tips from The House Shop

A Landlord’s Guide to Home Security

Published On: August 2, 2016 at 11:23 am

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Categories: Landlord News

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Although landlords leave their property in the hands of their tenants for long periods, there are still measures that you can take to increase home security.

To help your tenants keep your property safe and secure, you can take simple steps to deter intruders. Sainsbury’s Bank has put together a useful guide to home security, which you could also give to tenants to protect the property while they are living there.

Do you know about the different types of burglar alarm? Do you use a BSI Kitemark-approved lock? Do your tenants know how to deter intruders while they are on holiday?

Through taking simple, small steps, you can ensure that your property is more secure. Follow these handy tips and sit back knowing that your property is as safe as it can be:

Check that locks are fully secure 

At the beginning of each tenancy, check the locks to ensure that they’re safe and secure. You may also decide that you need to install new or different locks to ensure that your property is safe.

  • Mortice locks – A mortice lock fits into the door itself. Five-lever mortice locks are recommended by Secured by Design, which is owned by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
  • Rim locks – These locks, sometimes known as Yale locks, are attached to the back of the door and lock automatically.
  • Multi-point locks – Multi-point locks are held closed by two or more hooks and bolds. They can be harder for burglars to manipulate.
  • Additional security bolts – These bolts make it difficult for doors to be forced open. They’re a popular choice for patio doors.

If your property has gates, a shed and a garage, you must also ensure that these have secure locks on them too, as they are prime targets for thieves.

A Landlord's Guide to Home Security

A Landlord’s Guide to Home Security

Install an alarm

Alarm systems are very effective at deterring burglars. There are many different models available, but the Metropolitan Police recommends a system that meets British Standard 4737/BS EN 50131.

  • Audible only – These alarms set off a loud and unpleasant alarm, which is designed to scare burglars and notify your neighbours.
  • Automatic dialling alarms – An automatic dialling alarm sets of a noise and makes an automated call to the police.
  • Remote signalling alarms – This type of alarm sets off an alarm and sends a message to a monitoring office, which then contacts the police.

Fit security lights 

Motion-sensor security lights can also be very effective. A bright light makes it easy to see when someone approaches your property and can make burglars reconsider their break-in attempt.

These lights are particularly useful in high-risk areas, such as:

  • Parts of the property that aren’t overlooked by neighbours or visible from the road.
  • Patio doors.
  • Flat roofs.
  • Back doors.

Ensure the property is insured

A good Landlord Insurance policy will protect your property from theft or attempted theft. This cover is included as standard in the Just Landlords policy, which has been rated 5-star by Defaqto. You should also advise tenants to insure their belongings against theft.

Keep keys out of sight

Remind your tenants to keep their keys out of sight, as keys or other valuables can be very tempting to burglars when left by a door or window. It is also advised that tenants do not hide spare keys in common spots, such as under a doormat, as these are the first places a burglar will look.

Take protective steps when going on holiday 

If you know that your tenants will be away on holiday, there are measures that both parties can take to look after the property while it is empty. If they are away for more than a few days, try to arrange the following:

  • If you live near the property or your tenants have a friendly neighbour, have a car parked on the drive at all times.
  • Ask your tenants to set up a timer for lights and the radio during the evenings.
  • Ask your tenants if you can make regular inspections while they are away to ensure the property is safe.
  • If it’s summer, go to the property to cut the grass or have your tenants ask a neighbour.

Empty homes are a prime target for burglars, but you can deter theft by taking preventative measures and asking your tenants to put certain actions in place.

Don’t risk your property suffering damage by theft with this helpful advice and visual guide from https://www.sainsburysbank.co.uk/money-matters/home-security