The days when an apartment building's 'security system' consisted of a tricky front door lock and the landlord's ill-tempered dog are long past. Today, security measures range from old-style deadbolts to high-tech biometric screening equipment, with a lot of technology in between that includes both electronic and human components. For association board members and others living in co-op or condo buildings, understanding the functions and necessities of these security components is essential to having a safe community. Any resident should know how these various measures interlock to form a web of protection for them and their property.
But how should a residential co-op or condo building pinpoint its ideal level of security? Such an inquiry starts with determining the criteria the building’s management should take into account when considering a security installation or upgrade. Particularly in these sometimes stressful economic times, cost often is the most important factor for a board to consider when determining its community’s security needs.
Sometimes, the absolute necessity of a building’s leadership to provide for the safety of the residents must supersede cost. Because failing to provide adequate security for a building could be the basis of a lawsuit if a major crime is committed or a person is harmed, adequate security is about dollars and cents as much as it is about life and limb. Lawsuits against a building alleging inadequate security could be time-consuming, and also expensive to all of the community’s residents.
Due to such potentially costly threats, it is crucial for a board to conduct a thorough evaluation of the building’s security needs at least every few years, residential security experts say. For many residential structures, this evaluation begins at a building’s annual meeting.
The legal fallout for a building whose management fails to provide a minimum level of security can be quite serious. In addition to being subjected to expensive and time-consuming lawsuits, a building’s management might feel the need to immediately upgrade aspects of the building’s security system as a preventative measure. Doing renovations in such an on-the-fly manner can be the costliest way to upgrade, since competitive bidding often falls by the wayside during these crisis moments. Ideally, a building’s management will have assessed the security needs of the community before any serious crimes happen, and will be prepared.