The pros and cons of keyless entry systems

Jason Van Steenwyk
Jason Van Steenwyk | 3 min. read
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Published on May 19, 2016

The modern lock, as we know it today, was invented by Linus Yale, Jr in 1861. And it hasn’t changed much since. And for good reason: the pin tumbler lock system (as perfected in the 19th century) keeps homes and residents secure for an affordable price, and without much hassle. However, locks get old and rusty, keys get lost, and they can be easy for thieves to break.

But if you’ve ever been to a resort or a modern dormitory, you know there’s a better, more efficient way to secure your properties: Digital, keyless locks. They come in a variety of forms, from pin pads to keycards to electromagnetic fobs. There are even some that only allow access via fingerprint. Some hotels have even started providing digital keys on smartphones.

They can be expensive to install (anywhere from $125 to $1,000 per door), but some buildings have installed them in stages: Common doors have keyless entry, but individual unit doors have traditional locks.

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Here are some things you’ll want to be sure to do if and when you install a keyless entry system.

7 Things to Consider Before Installing a Keyless Entry System in Your Rentals

  • It’s harder to break a digital lock, but they do come with their own set of concerns: Hackers can use a number of methods to break into buildings. Be sure to quiz your rep on security measures for the system.
  • Make sure that the software that manages your keyless entry or security system is compatible with other software you use to manage your property. For example, if you delete a resident from your rent roll, it should delete them from the entry system and deactivate their key.
  • Some systems require that residents key-in and key-out, which may be a violation of local fire code. Make sure you can customize this to your needs.
  • What are your must-haves? Develop your security plan based on what you need, what you want, and what would be a luxury.
  • Many systems come with a video function, which will deter crime, reduce false alarms, and quickly identify problem residents.
  • What will you do in the case of a power outage? Any system that requires Wifi or electricity to function will need a backup source in case of a power outage.
  • Central control should be secure but accessible. The safest bet would be a central computer in the main office—but that’s not convenient if you’re on vacation and there’s a problem. Ideally, you’ll be able to (securely) control the system from a tablet or phone, even if you’re miles away from the office.

What do you think of keyless entry solutions? Have you started using them at any of your properties? Get the conversation started with some pros and cons in the comment section!

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Jason Van Steenwyk

Jason is a freelance writer and editor, as well as an avid fiddler. His articles have been published in a number of real estate publications including Wealth and Retirement Planner and Bankrate.com. He lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL with his cat, Sasha, and an unknown number of musical instruments.

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