How to improve your strata property’s security

Here are five things you can do to make a big difference to your strata property’s security factor

A strata property’s security is among the highest priorities for strata committees, owners and prospective buyers alike. It’s natural to want to feel safe and secure at home. While routinely reviewing your lot’s security is important, it’s also crucial to consider your strata property’s security as a whole. After all, when it comes to community living, keeping each other safe is a team effort.

If you feel your strata property isn’t as secure as it could be, fear not — there are ways to make improvements. While some methods may be costly and require the input of the entire owners corporation, others can be actioned quite quickly and easily by strata committees, owners and residents.Here are 5 things committees and owners can do to increase a strata property’s security:

  1. Install CCTV cameras
  2. Install motion-activated lighting
  3. Review window and door security regularly
  4. Contact a master locksmith when changing or servicing locks
  5. Review and upgrade your access control cards and fobs

Install CCTV cameras

Well-placed and well-managed CCTV cameras can drastically increase your strata property’s security factor. If your property has experienced recent break-ins or there has been an increase in crime in your neighbourhood, it may be wise to consider having CCTV cameras placed strategically to monitor areas like the driveway and entrances to your strata property.

As installing CCTV cameras would involve making alterations to existing common property areas, the strata committee will need to discuss the matter and have a related by-law passed before installing them.

We recommend approaching dedicated strata law specialists, such as Kemps Peterson Legal, for a tailored by-law that covers the placement, maintenance and management of the cameras before installation and takes into account federal and state legislation too.

Click here to learn more about installing CCTV cameras on your strata property.

Install motion-activated lighting

It’s no surprise that break-ins are less likely to occur in well-lit areas. If your strata property does not have adequate lighting in the driveway, the garage, entryways or hallways, you may consider installing motion-activated lighting in these areas.

Motion-activated lighting may increase your strata property’s security by triggering whenever motion is detected in a nominated area and staying on for a designated amount of time. This option is more energy-efficient than permanent lighting, as the lighting is only active when people are using the nominated areas, and may also deter criminals from entering or lingering in your property’s parameters. If your property has CCTV cameras installed, having motion-activated lighting installed in the areas being monitored will also help.

As installing motion-activated lighting would involve alterations to existing common property areas, the strata committee may need to discuss the matter and have a related motion passed before installing.

Review window and door security regularly

It would be wise for committee members and owners alike to regularly check all lot and common property doors and windows, to maintain your strata property’s security. As buckled windows and doors or ones that do not close or seal property may provide vantage points for intruders, they should be fixed or replaced with urgency.

If your strata property has self-closing doors, ensure the main entry doors to your complex close at an acceptable speed to reduce the likelihood of intruders slipping into the complex close behind authorised residents or visitors. Entry and exit doors should always be closed when not in use.

4. Contact a master locksmith when changing or servicing locks

The locks on doors and windows within individual lots and common property areas are often the first line of protection against intruders and unwanted visitors. Knowing this, it’s important to ensure these locks are installed and serviced by qualified locksmiths so that your strata property’s security is not compromised.
Recently, there have been reports of unqualified locksmiths offering services for as little as $45, and then ruining locks and compromising security. To avoid this scenario, we recommend contacting a master locksmith if the lot or common property doors or windows need their locks changed or serviced. Master locksmiths are qualified to trade professionals who are generally licenced and police-checked. They can provide you with expert advice, can generally be trusted to perform their duties with security in mind, and have access to the latest technologies and Electronic Access Control products.

Importantly, locks on fire safety doors may not be compliant with your state’s legislation. If your fire doors currently have locks, you may need to have the locks removed.

Review and upgrade your access control cards and fobs

While access control cards and fobs can improve your strata property’s security factors, it may still be possible for them to be duplicated and shared with unauthorised people. To prevent this, we recommend opting for encrypted access control cards and fobs, which are far more challenging to duplicate.
It is also wise for strata committees to review the list of active access control cards and fobs, and deactivate any that are no longer in use, on a regular basis. If your strata property employs a building manager, they may be able to help you maintain and update records of active access cards and fobs.

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PICA Group tip
Improving your strata property’s security needs to be something strata committees and owners work on constantly. By allocating time to do this before each AGM, you can ensure your strata property’s security is reviewed and upgraded regularly.

When it comes to managing a strata property, there are various compliance or legislative requirements that are needed to protect owners and residents. When the situation allows, you don’t want to miss out on the chance of an insurance claim against your owners corporation. Click here to learn more about Community Health & Safety and related services to ensure your protection. You can also click here to download our FREE Community Living guide series on defects. If you would like to learn more about the services we offer, click here for a free assessment.