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Subject: Locked Out of Building - Lost Keys
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Author Messages
BobbyL1
(California)

Posts:19


11/08/2020 4:03 PM  
I wanted to ask how other associations would handle a situation like this...

Our building is an enclosed unattended condo building with off-site management. Exterior access is only by key fob reader or intercom at the front door or by remote at the gated garage. Each unit front door key is controlled by the unit owner themselves, no copy is held by the HOA.

The homeowner is out of town, a friend is taking care of the unit but loses the entire key set (the electronic fob, garage remote, and unit front door key). The homeowner emails an HOA board member asking them to let the caretaker/friend in the lobby front door so that he/she can then bring a locksmith in to drill out the lock and get back into the unit. The homeowner says he'll follow up with the HOA management company directly for a replacement key fob, garage remote, and mailbox key separately.

HOA Property manager says it's no problem for the board member to let the friend into the lobby because there's written permission by email from the homeowner. But that the HOA has nothing to do with the unit front door, so that's between the friend, the homeowner, and the locksmith.

What would you do? Should the board member open the lobby door for the friend? What's the liability here? Does it make a difference if the owner is personally known to the board member? Does it make a difference if the board member acts in a personal capacity to open the door? How do other associations handle a situation like this?

Thanks.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3577


11/08/2020 4:21 PM  
Your association should already have a policy about this - if not, they need to establish one post haste. You should also contact your association's master insurance company about the liability piece - it can also help draft a policy to help protect the association.

So far you haven't given any reason there could be a problem. Once the friend gets in the building, he or she still has to get inside the unit and for that the locksmith is necessary. I don't see the friend running around the building robbing other units - how are you going to get stuff in the car if you have to make more than one trip to get in the building without that keyfob?

You don't say if you're the board member - if you're nervous about this, have the property manager send over an on call manager. Actually, that may be preferable, even if the owner and the board member are friends.

Oh and make sure the owner pays all expenses related to this saga - how he or she gets reimbursed by the friend is between them
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1047


11/08/2020 4:54 PM  
Based on what you stated above, it don't sound like the owner is asking the HOA to foot the bill for the unit locksmith. It sounds like they arranged that service themselves. Give the caretaker the key and the caretaker will let the locksmith in.
BobbyL1
(California)

Posts:19


11/08/2020 4:59 PM  
Hi Shelia - Thanks for the advice! Yes, I'm the board member. I was writing in third-person to ensure clarity.

The owner is definitely paying for all of the stuff.

You bring up a good point about policy. I'll make sure we get one established by our next meeting. Thanks again.
BobbyL1
(California)

Posts:19


11/08/2020 5:00 PM  
Posted By LetA on 11/08/2020 4:54 PM
Based on what you stated above, it don't sound like the owner is asking the HOA to foot the bill for the unit locksmith. It sounds like they arranged that service themselves. Give the caretaker the key and the caretaker will let the locksmith in.




That's correct. Thanks!
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:225


11/08/2020 5:58 PM  
I’m not a board member but I live in a multifamily condo building and have lived in multifamily condo buildings for years.

The HOA should have a copy of all keys. Period.

As long as the owner gives written permission for access, access should be given. But written permission should be required (not verbal).

My building has a customized website by BuildingLink and it allows owners to give written permission online.
ChrisE8
(New York)

Posts:225


11/08/2020 5:58 PM  
I’m not a board member but I live in a multifamily condo building and have lived in multifamily condo buildings for years.

The HOA should have a copy of all keys. Period.

As long as the owner gives written permission for access, access should be given. But written permission should be required (not verbal).

My building has a customized website by BuildingLink and it allows owners to give written permission online.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9714


11/08/2020 7:22 PM  
I am not sure about having an email stating this. I'd want to talk to a human being and CONFIRM this person is aware of the situation. Having an email from an owner doesn't mean it is in today's world. I'd have to verify other forms of I.D.

My email address I use is "fake" and doesn't contain my name. So I would be suspicious of an email notification being the means of approval. I'd take an email but only after it's confirmed by human being contact.

Former HOA President
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1368


11/09/2020 4:50 AM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 11/08/2020 7:22 PM
I am not sure about having an email stating this. I'd want to talk to a human being and CONFIRM this person is aware of the situation. Having an email from an owner doesn't mean it is in today's world. I'd have to verify other forms of I.D.

My email address I use is "fake" and doesn't contain my name. So I would be suspicious of an email notification being the means of approval. I'd take an email but only after it's confirmed by human being contact.




It's probably an abundance of caution thing, but this is a good idea. Similar to the standard advice of responding to an unsolicited email or text purporting to be from your bank by calling the bank yourself at its published number and verifying the story. The association manager should have contact info for all owners and would be able to verify by calling the owner of the unit.

There are too many scammers out there...
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