Your Security Web Maintaining Safety and Security at Home

 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.  

 Costly Inaction

 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.  


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  • I live in a 13 unit condominum building were we (owners) manage it. The topic of installing security cameras came up but was denied because 2 owners were against it. Must all owners be in agreement ? One of the owners owns 2 units as investment/rental property and does not live here. Does she have a say so in regarding the security of the building ?
  • Being that its a condominium, usually, all owners will need to foot the expense of work being done in common areas as an assessment, or the money will come from your budget. .The by-laws should state what can be done by Board approval and if all residents need to be in agreement in the end, even if she doesn't have a say so in what is done, you may not be able to get her to pay for cameras, or other improvements. If your Board has a policy that all decisions regarding purchases must pass an entire building vote, then looks like you will still be without cameras.