Security in Strata Schemes

Security is one of the most listed benefits of apartment living. However, even the most complex security systems can come undone if residents simply let those with no business on the property into the building. Bodies corporate of all sizes need to have some level of basic housekeeping that reduces the risk of potential security breaches including illegal access at your complex, mail security and car park security.

In this article, we look at easy, quick and simple cost-effective measures to minimise security risks that a body corporate of any size can implement.

Firstly, how do people bypass security?

The most common ways unauthorized people access your building:

• Loitering at the entrance and waiting for someone to enter/exit the building
• Tailgating a vehicle into the building’s garage in their vehicle
• Entering a garage on foot behind a vehicle
• Using the intercom to request access e.g. posing as a courier
• Short-term rentals e.g. Airbnb and Stayz
• Former tenants who have not returned keys/access devices
• People obstructing common access doors who are moving in/out

Lots of buildings these days have security measures such as CCTV cameras already in place but that is not always enough to discourage trespassers and criminals from entering the premises.

Often the most effective way to protect your home and community is to put extra security measures in place and keep watch.

Protecting your building from intruders can be as simple as closing and locking doors behind you, taking notice of suspicious people and reporting them to security, the on-site manager if you have one, or the police.

Make sure that valuable items, such as laptops, phones and wallets are out of sight and that your contents insurance includes theft. If you are renting your unit, don’t forget to inform your tenants about security measures to contribute to a safer and more secure strata community.

Who Is Responsible for what in strata security?

Owners and occupiers are responsible for:

The security of their individual units or housing. This includes maintaining secure and lockable doors and windows into units or apartments, especially units or townhouses which have access to the street or ground level.

The Body Corporate are responsible for:

The security of common property. This can include common areas such as lobbies and foyers, car parks, and other facilities such as pools or barbeque areas.

How you can protect your strata property:

• Ensure balconies and windows are locked at night and when the property is unoccupied.
• Replace fly screens with security screens if you tend to leave windows and doors open during the warmer months.
• Ensure the garage door or outer main doors are locked behind you, and don’t let strangers follow you into the building.
• Take notice of suspicious people and report them to relevant authorities.
• Get to know your neighbours. Often your community will feel much safer if you get to know familiar faces.
• If there is an intruder in your complex you should contact the authorities’ immediately taking note of their description, time and activity.
• If not already in place, consider installing CCTV cameras to increase the security in your building.
• Make sure to lock your mail box. Strata buildings are often targeted for identity theft.
• Don’t allow strangers to tailgate you into the garage, and don’t buzz them inside the building.
• If you are considering increasing the security measures in your strata property, always make sure to speak to your Body Corporate before taking action.

If you want more information or have concerns about security at your property, consult your by-laws and talk to your Body Corporate Manager.

Stratacare can assist you and your community to ensure your security measures are as up-to-date and functional as possible within the needs of your scheme, and to seek out any relevant legal advice for installation of security systems.

Author: Sam Aubrey