On Sat, 27 Feb 2010 19:56:37 -0800 (PST), camryguy
New York City law enables the signatures of 70 or 80%, or some other
high number, of tenants, to compel the installation of what you
We had a building where there had been no vandalism but the little
sofa and chair in the lobby had been stolen. They were nothing great,
and no one ever sat on them, and it didn't really look bad without
them, but still, and the new ll didnt' want to replace it. More
important was the general problem of anyone walking in.
In order to get all the signatures needed, or at least mine, I had to
promise that there would be no return buzzer. In a 48 unit building,
it's too easy to just press buttons until someone lets you in. I
don't know if the installer was told, but probably not, because the
law didn't account for what I wanted, no return buzzer. So the whole
system was installed by the landlord, and within a couple days, I cut
the wires for the return buzzer. They were repaired once and I cut
them again. After that things were peaceful.
The buzzers and the intercom still worked.
The two buildings, connected by a big hall at ground level, were 6
stories tall and each had an elevator. People on the first floor
could walk over; people in the front two arpartments, 10 of them,
could throw a key out the window if they wanted, everyone else could
just come down. Security was more important than inconveniencing
them. If they had regular visitors, nothing stopped them from making
another key for a visitor.
The only remaining problem was people following in others who lived
there. At the tenants meaning, I taught some of them to blame someone
else. "I'm not allowed to let in people I don't know". It usually
worked, and even furniture thieves didn't want to get noticed in a
confrontation like that. I was there 5 more years and was back 17
years later, the most recent time, and it was still working as
You can put let the tenants vote on the return buzzer, or you can let
one or two votes against be sufficient not to have one, and if you
have one, you can get rid of it whenever you want.
Ive stayed at an apt that handled this througn the telephone system.
You could call from the door then get buzzed in all over the phone.
Dont have a clue what this would cost. The big issue may be what its
currently costing you in damages.
I used to have a friend who had that.
They'll probably expect you to get a separate phone line, but even if
they succeed in making the op do that, he could change to his own
phone line after they leave. Just disable long distance. :) And you
may get interruptions when you are on the phone. :)
Do you have the front door locked, if not thats dumb since thefts will
happen, an irate tenant you move out can come back and do damage, ive
had it happen. My intercom broke but I use keyless locks, if a tenant
moves I dont like or I have contractor issues I change the passcode.
Just install locks without keys, I found a brand online for about 120
a lock that work well. In Chicago code is to have a secure building
and probably intercom, at least get it secure let them use cell phones
to comunicate with people wanting to get in. Without a secure building
it doesnt take much to get make tenants feel unsecure and move.
Do you know who's causing the damage? If the damage is being caused by
friends of the tenants or the tenants' dealers, then a buzz-in system will
be a mere inconvenience.
Consider high-tech: A key-card door opener that logs all incoming users.
That, coupled with CCTV and recordings should allow you to deduce the
culprits. Once found, for a case of beer, you can have the shit beaten out
Word will get around.
It seems to me the first thing I'd probably do is install a few
security cameras. Depending of course on the constraints of the
building, the cost could be relatively modest. Having a prominent
one that is visible from outside and focuses on the entry door would
be one spot to cover. Another would be one that gets a good shoot
facing the people as they walk into the building.
I don't know if such a thing exists, but from the other replies, I can
imagine a system that would be an easy install for older buildings and
solve most of the issues. Have an electronic door lock linked to a
unit that's installed next to the door. Said unit would have a phone
handset with keypad. To gain entry a person would enter the apt unit
# that they want to visit. The unit would have the corresponding
telephone # and call that unit via normal phone call. If the person
is there and answers, then they could respond via pushing a touchtone
button on their phone to unlock the door.
Oh... This "issue" is with the building itself -- you have inherited
a "soft target" which you should take immediate steps to fix, as
you wouldn't want to discover WHY people are coming into your
unlocked building, as that might scare both you and your tenants...
What does your local building code require ??? I know anything
around my area requires a self-closing and self-locking
exterior door wherever there are 3 or more tenant units...
It might be a good investment in your new property to have a
property inspector go through it with you and identify how to address
situation and any other shortcomings the building has because now as
the owner and landlord you are responsible for providing a safe,
code compliant multi-unit dwelling occupancy for 20 different
One thing you will need to consider when changing the configuration
of your front entry door is how this will effect the delivery of the
Will this require a keybox for the postal service ??? Does your local
fire department also require a lockbox at the main entry door with
door keys to gain entry to the building and any mechanical spaces
and roof access points ???
Before you go digging yourself in deeper, you really should have
a commercial property inspector/consultant come out and look
at what you have in place and give you the proper LOCAL advice
on what is required and what you need to do to be in compliance...
Installing a wired door bell/lock release system in a building after
it is built is just running wires... The cost of the system depends
on how fancy of a system you select and how difficult it is to run
the wires from a standardized place in each unit for the intercom
speaker and door release button back to the controller location...
On Sat, 27 Feb 2010 19:56:37 -0800 (PST), camryguy
You could put a combo key and number paid lock on the entry door. You
could keep the only key or you could give all the tenants a key in
case the batteries die. Visitors call the tenant, tenant tells them
the number code so they can get in. A lot of gated communities here
in Arizona use that kind of setup for the gate at the entrance. Most
of these type of systems allow at least two entry codes. You could
have a different code for people like the mailman in case you need to
change the other code every few months.
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