Do you have control of your keys? Do you use a master key system? Is your key management process security. Where is the industry going regarding locks and keys? While I normally write to issues that are more to the strategic operation and profitability of rental property investing, Keys are a subject that deserve attention. Most of the very large companies have long ago moved away from the master key approach. However, if you are from a smaller property or are considering buying an older property, you may find master keys in place. You probably are already frustrated with the need to replace the locks anytime a master key becomes compromised or lost in a serious way. Nevertheless, if you are part of the master key properties, your moment dealing with the aggravation is about to end. Start planning now to replace the master keys with a duplicate key system or if you have budget you can consider electronic keys. You see master keys are not secure. In fact a master key can be produced for any building within 15 minutes using information that is readily available on the Internet, bain of my existence keys and locks.
So what should we be doing? For now, most properties have moved to a process of a key cabinet with duplicate keys. These keys are then issued out for work to the staff. Unfortunately, this proves difficult to manage in the day to day grind of a very busy apartment community. Very frequently, you can step into an office and find the key cabinet wide open with all the keys exposed to easy theft. Even more risky but as will some times develop, too many people end up with access to the key cabinets. Access often leads to abuse and abuse leads to theft. As you can see, the current approach to keys has major weaknesses as well.
Because of these points, the likelihood and perhaps the certainty is that the apartment industry will move to a system similar to the hotel business. Electronic locks are likely to be on there way in and key locks are on their way out. This is just as well because electronic keys offer other benefits to community operation. Unfortunately, electronic keys cost about 5X to replace. However, with master key driven changes and other regulatory issues driving the need to change locks at what seems far to great a frequency, this cost turns out to be relatively modest over the life of the community.