Replacing a front door to a building in rough neighborhood

15 Replies

Hi All-

I hired a new PM to manage my quad in an “up and coming” neighborhood. They took over in February and part of the punch list was to replace the front door to the building as the lock has been broken and it’s unsecured. Initially, they had all these great ideas such as installing an electric key pad, getting a commercial door, etc., and since then gave me the impression things were on track. I found out today the door has never been replaced and they ( she and her head contractor) are struggling with the following:

1- they fear the electric key pad will just get destroyed by the neighborhood locals ( non residents) and sooner or later they will break it to gain entry again 

2- When I asked them why they can’t use an old fashioned lock and just give each resident a key they said “But if we do that how can the mailman get access to deliver the mail?” I’m pretty sure mailmen across the country somehow deliver mail everyday to buildings that lock the front door and there has to be a simple way get over this hurdle. Yet they act like this is insurmountable and somehow justifies the their lack of progress in getting the door replaced. 

Is this an issue for those of you who have small buildings? How have you locked the front door while providing access to deliver mail? Is this just an excuse they are giving me to justify their lack of action?

I am at a loss and welcome any insight.

Thanks!

@Lisa Jones I am not sure that electronic locks are less secure then regular locks. My schlage Camelot will lock with a key or the keypad and is relatively easy to install.  The issue might be people giving away codes.   People will sometimes break locks but an unlocked building is a risk and they will break a keyed lock or an electronic lock.

As for the mailman our mailboxes are outside so I can't help you there. 

You can go to that local post office and give them a key for that particular mail person that does that route to enter the building for the mail. That is what I done for my one of my quads and I have deadbolt lock with the lockpad code and I dont have any issue with the tenants giving the code/key out as they are more concern about their safety so in hindsight it depends on your renters if they dont care about keeping the building secure or not.

If there's that much threat of destroying a keypad, I don't know that it's an "up-and-coming" neighborhood. I would go with a keypad and get the code to the mail carrier. It's cheaper/easier to change a code than to copy keys. People may forget to lock a manual lock. Keypads can be disabled for a period of time to permit contractors or movers in/out without constantly having to unlock the door. Residents won't lock themselves out of the building.

My vote is for a keypad.

I used Codelocks CL5510 from GoKeyLess, about 400. It allows both card access and code access. The tenants get 1 card per person on lease. I provided a code to the dispatch so that police | fire |ems can enter. I bought a Salsbury front-loading mailbox and put that outside. That seemed to solve the issue. The locks have held up well. You can also have a Wifi Gateway for about 150 that allows you to remotely lock/unlock the door.

Good luck! My suggestion was one that was quick solving but I feel you can’t go wrong dead bolt and lock. I have managed numerous properties with key less entrance or codes and lot of time it malfunctions or outside guest just use the code to get in. I find it to easy access. Just my option!

I would avoid deadbolt locks. Tenants will not lock them and they don't hold up to heavy use or abuse. If the deadbolt isn't lined up properly, it can damage the lock easily. It is fine for a single family or short term rentals but not up to commercial standards. As Maria suggested the Codelocks are a good solution. They are self locking and built to take abuse. People don't realize there is a big difference between residential locks you buy at the hardware store compared to commercial. Also make sure the door is a commercial door with self closing feature. Get the nice swing arm type that really pull it shut. Do it right and do it once. People will still prop the door open, but no solution is perfect. As others said, just get the mailman a key or code.

Originally posted by @Lisa Jones :

Hi All-

I hired a new PM to manage my quad in an “up and coming” neighborhood. They took over in February and part of the punch list was to replace the front door to the building as the lock has been broken and it’s unsecured. Initially, they had all these great ideas such as installing an electric key pad, getting a commercial door, etc., and since then gave me the impression things were on track. I found out today the door has never been replaced and they ( she and her head contractor) are struggling with the following:

1- they fear the electric key pad will just get destroyed by the neighborhood locals ( non residents) and sooner or later they will break it to gain entry again 

2- When I asked them why they can’t use an old fashioned lock and just give each resident a key they said “But if we do that how can the mailman get access to deliver the mail?” I’m pretty sure mailmen across the country somehow deliver mail everyday to buildings that lock the front door and there has to be a simple way get over this hurdle. Yet they act like this is insurmountable and somehow justifies the their lack of progress in getting the door replaced. 

Is this an issue for those of you who have small buildings? How have you locked the front door while providing access to deliver mail? Is this just an excuse they are giving me to justify their lack of action?

I am at a loss and welcome any insight.

Thanks!

 Hi Lisa,

Maybe think about installing a commercial steel door and steel door frame, with a key outside and a crash-bar opener inside.

Renters and visitors will feel more comfortable if they have a clear view inside before going in, so a window (with chicken wire in it) might be a good idea.

If the hinges are exposed get non-removable hinge pins.

Also, if it's allowed in your area good building security means only one entry and access point. All Other points kept locked inside and out with steel doors (watch fire code regarding this though--you don't want The Triangle Shirtwaist fire). 

The door may pick up graffiti--if it does--it may be someone living in one of the apartments, and front door facing cameras might be an option.

But I have to wonder why they are damaging this door. Is there something of value inside they want, such as washing machine money, rob the mail, a crack stash in one of the units, an Ex all drunked up and throwing a fit (???)

Or is it one of the renters who locked themselves out and just decided that was they easy way to get in.

Because if it was a renter (or from their household), a digital keypad code with a different set of digits for every renter might do the trick for a lot less money.

Good Luck!

Originally posted by @Maria S. :

I used Codelocks CL5510 from GoKeyLess, about 400. It allows both card access and code access. The tenants get 1 card per person on lease. I provided a code to the dispatch so that police | fire |ems can enter. I bought a Salsbury front-loading mailbox and put that outside. That seemed to solve the issue. The locks have held up well. You can also have a Wifi Gateway for about 150 that allows you to remotely lock/unlock the door.

I think this is the solution for your problem. Great suggestion.