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Strata Manager, Property Owner or Landlord?

Property owners, body corporates and strata managers have a wide range of obligations and regulations they must follow in order to fulfil their obligation of providing ‘reasonable’ security.

This article, from a locksmithing and professional Association perspective, will provide landlords and property managers with simple measures and ideas that can be implemented in relation to security considerations within strata complexes.

TRANSPARENCY & RAISING AWARENESS

Informing tenants of their and what your obligations as the managers of the building are is a great starting point. Make it clear that you are responsible for providing ‘reasonable’ security whilst ensuring that all legal & building regulations are adhered to in the process. Be firm and clear in relation to the persons responsible and procedures required for additional lock requests, change of locks or want for additional keys. Stress that all requests to change or improve hardware must come through the proper channels.

Communicate this clearly and effectively with your tenants and landlords, provide them with written confirmation and ongoing education and you’ll find less deadbolts being added to your unit entry doors and therefore less compliance issues.

Reminding tenants to be vigilant in terms of locking doors when leaving units unattended, shutting doors on common entry doors, parking cars in an allocated spot or in a well-lit area and taking notice of suspicious people or activities will also assist in making the building or complex safer.

ACCESS CONTROL

Access control refers to the practice of restricting entrance to a property, a building, or a room to authorized persons. This can be achieved via mechanical means such as locks and keys, or through electronic means such as access control systems. There are many new electronic access control systems on the market today to suit all types of applications and user requirements, such as LOktouch.


LIGHTING & PHYSICAL SURROUNDS

Lighting can be used as an effective tool at preventing criminal activity. Security lighting will aid in the detection of intruders, deter intruders in the first instance and provide tenants with an increased feeling of safety.

Lighting upgrades will also improve the general amenity of an area and encourages pedestrian movement through areas which may have previously been avoided. This will also improve natural surveillance which assists in the detection of suspicious behaviour.

Installing motion sensors is a cost effective way of increasing security. Burglars don’t like being seen, so strategically improving lighting is one of the simplest steps you can take.
Improving the physical surrounds of the complex will deter any would-be intruders. Ensuring all trees and shrubs are properly trimmed provides a clear view of the property and restricts the amount of bushes that block the view of doorways. The appearance of an unkempt residence will give the impression that ‘no one really cares’, while the sight of a tidy building and surrounds implies that the opposite.

CCTV

Along with acting as a great deterrent to theft and malicious damage, modern CCTV systems (such as IP Cameras) provide you with higher definition which assists police in gathering more detailed information. Additionally, CCTV cameras and their images can assist body corporates and investigators to identify, address and manage the following issues in strata schemes:

  • unauthorised parking on common areas
  • visitor parking issues
  • unauthorised use of common areas
  • garbage dumped on common property

It is also important to note that you ensure that CCTV cameras are not to be positioned in areas where you would reasonably expect activities of a private nature to occur. Locksmiths specialising in electronic security are well equipped to provide you with product and installation advice.

INTERCOMS

Intercom technology has come a long way over the past decade with many management bodies implementing video intercoms to increase the privacy and security of tenants.


Video intercoms enable tenants to see and speak to guests at the door or gate prior to giving permission for their entry. Intercom technology also allows you to store images of who has pressed doorbells or entered the complex so you know who’s been lurking around.

SAFES

Encourage tenants to lock personal or valuable belongings in a proper safe, (including common property keys). There are many different types and brands of safes currently out in the market, often raising more questions than answers.


A locksmith or security professional is best equipped to assist tenants in finding the right safe. There are the various options when it comes to safes including key operation, combination lock or electronic safes, but the old adage of 'you get what you pay for' certainly rings true when purchasing a safe’.


Determining the degree of protection, the nature and value of the property to secure are vital elements to consider. Installation is also just as important as the purchase.

FINAL WORD

As strata managers it’s important to know your responsibilities and this includes ensuring all locks comply (without tenant intervention) with the various regulations as written in the Building Code of Australia (BCA).

For example, it is important to remember that most gates on the common property boundaries must be free to exit at all times. Some press to Exit buttons do not comply. Even today, some gate manufacturers are still building and installing non-compliant gates, and are not aware of their legal obligations under the BCA. The BCA takes precedence over any insurance company requirements.

The Master Locksmiths Association conducts courses on the BCA for its Members. This ensures you are getting current and sound advice from a security professional, rather than a handyman.

 

The Master Locksmiths Association of Australasia (MLA) is recognised and respected as the peak organisation for locksmithing professionals in the Pacific region.

If you are unsure of what preventive measures or products are currently out in the market, ask a security professional or ‘locksmith’ for advice. MLAA Members are more than happy to discuss your security needs, whether it be commercial or domestic, and help you solve your security concerns

Visit www.masterlocksmiths.com.au to find your nearest member.