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Audit Trail: A Community’s Best Defense Against Key Loss and Liability

audit trailMultifamily communities come in all shapes and sizes; however, they all require an equally effective key control policy to ensure resident safety and reduce liability exposure. Here are three reasons why an audit trail can be a multifamily community’s best defense against key loss and liability.

#1 Who has the keys?

The main security issue presented by traditional key systems and hook boards is keys going missing without a trace. Missing keys are not only a source of stress, they put the community’s management company at risk. How, you ask? Consider that a potential resident has arrived and is waiting to view an apartment home. If the key hunt takes too long, you could lose the prospect for good. “I’ll come back later”, often never happens and losing potential residents hurts your occupancy rate. And what if an employee needs to inspect a unit or make a repair? Every minute spent searching for the key kills productivity and wastes money.

Employee resentment can also quickly build-up when keys go missing. Everyone dislikes the exhaustive search and unhappy, frustrated employees are more likely to seek employment elsewhere. As a result, the property management company then faces understaffing issues in addition to future hiring and training costs.

#2: Accountabiity

When there is no accountability, it is easy for individuals involved to shirk responsibility:

– Imagine that an employee is working with a potential resident when someone interrupts and asks where a set of keys are. The easiest thing to say is, “I don’t know” and go back to the task at hand. And in the event the employee shifts their attention to the key search, he or she might lose the prospect.

– That same key we spoke of earlier, might have been accidentally taken home. If the employee knows there’s no audit trail in place, they may be inclined to stay quiet and return it the next day when no one’s around. Otherwise, a trip back to work to return a key will take away free time.

– A vacant apartment home is left unlocked after a showing and is vandalized overnight. No one owns up. This costs money to repair.

– Keys are lost and truly missing. The property has to pay for a replacement, wasting money.

An electronic key management system like HandyTrac, property managers can instantly reveal who last checked out a specific key using a secure audit trail. The system can also run a report of the key’s checkout history. Instead of hassling everyone, only this single employee is contacted. Employees will immediately understand that they are responsible for all keys they check out. A key control system creates a culture of accountability. A key hook board doesn’t.

#3: Instant reporting

By running reports generated using a secure audit trail, managers can quickly see:

– At the end of a shift and close to closing time, which keys are still checked out? Go round up any that should be checked in!

– How many times has a specific apartment home been viewed? Who has checked out the keys, when and for what purpose?

– What is a specific employee doing? What keys have they recently taken out and why?

With HandyTrac’s audit trail generated reports, managers are fully aware of community ongoings and can ensure a safe environment for residents and employees alike.

HandyTrac offers three excellent electronic key management systems including the new Touch system; featuring a large touch screen display and biometric technology for added security. Ask us for a quote and build a culture of accountability at your community today!

Improve Property Security Using our eBook

multifamily securityMost property owners understand and implement basic multifamily security measures to reduce the risk of crime — for example, installing security cameras and gated entry systems, or implementing ample lighting across the premises. However, proper key control is one aspect of multifamily security that can be easily overlooked.

Since management oversees the keys to all units, protecting and monitoring the use of said keys is one of the most important parts of keeping residents safe — and also one of the aspects most likely to be targeted for negligence. Obviously, not all crimes can be prevented, but one of the best ways you can improve safety for your residents is by implementing the property security best practices found in our eBook.

This invaluable resource offers easy-to-implement suggestions, practical tips and information on the latest in key control technology.

Make multifamily security your first priority by downloading your complimentary copy of our property security best practices today. Download your free copy here.

Key Control Best Practices for Student Housing

student housingIn a perfect world, a college or university campus should be a safe space. It’s a place for hungry and curious minds to learn and live peacefully. The reality, however, is when you have large groups of people moving about in a large number of buildings, each with hundreds of rooms, you’re left with thousands of potential vulnerability points — access points for criminals to steal or otherwise do harm. So, how do you properly manage student housing keys in a way that minimizes risk and helps keep students, and their belongings safe?

Restrict Access to Campus Keys

When you think of every door as an access point, you realize that your campus keys are either your best tool for security or your greatest point of risk. How you manage those keys determines which is which. Keys, whether mechanical or electronic, should always be secured and issued to staff only as needed. Installing a key control system can help this process. This way, only authorized staff can access lock boxes by use of their IDs (or even fingerprints), and keys can be checked out as needed and returned when the staff is finished. For electronic key systems, you can take this a step further by programming the system to allow staff access only to their authorized areas on campus.

Keep Tabs on your Keys

Every key that gets misplaced becomes a security liability, and with thousands of keys roaming around campus, they are remarkably easy to misplace. Key control systems not only can restrict access to authorized staff — they also create a documented audit trail so can track which keys are checked out to whom, and for how long. The system can also alert you of unusual patterns or behaviors. You’ll know immediately if a key goes missing, and you’ll know who had the key last.

Implement Robust Security Measures

On large campuses, even with strong vetting and background checks in place, sometimes bad guys slip through the cracks. Although you’ve restricted keys to authorized campus staff, how do you protect against violations from within the ranks? Answer: you create additional security features in your key tracking system, implement multi-step security protocols for people accessing keys, keep keys barcoded and placed in randomized positions within the box, and pull reports frequently so you can quickly detect suspicious activity.

If you’re serious about properly managing your campus keys, HandyTrac can provide a secure key control system perfect for your organization’s needs. To learn more, contact us today!

Join us at Apartmentalize 2019

apartmentalizeWe are pleased to announce our participation at Apartmentalize 2019, the largest multifamily conference and exhibition in the country. This three-day event is hosted by the National Apartment Association and will be held June 26-28 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

Our knowledgeable team of professionals will be attending the show, including President, Larry Kratz; VP and Partner, Steve Alvarez; and National Sales Executives, Bill Pierce and Eric Overhage.

Throughout the show, we will be offering comprehensive key control system demos, as well as games and prizes at booth #439. Additionally, we will be showcasing our latest electronic key control system, the Touch. The Touch combines biometric technology and a large touch screen display to offer the highest level of security, reporting, and flexibility.

About Apartmentalize 2019:
Apartmentalize is a paramount multi-housing industry event, featuring inspiring speakers, targeted education sessions, and a diverse product showcase. For more information, visit the Apartmentalize 2019 website.

About HandyTrac:
For over 20 years HandyTrac has been the low-cost leader in multifamily and military housing key control; managing keys for more than 3 million apartment homes throughout the country. Our cloud based systems offer instant access to archived reporting and provide the ability to manage your communities with a single login through your computer or smartphone. For more information, contact us today!

Budget-friendly Key Management

budget-friendly key management systemsFor organizations both large and small, the ongoing expense of lost keys can be glaring. In addition to incurring unnecessary replacement costs, missing keys leave properties exposed to various security threats that can result in costly premises liability settlements. As the low-cost leader in key management, HandyTrac offers a number of budget-friendly key management systems and features that keep costs to a minimum while drastically improving property security.

Automated Management

Our electronic key management systems help to eliminate the problem of lost or misplaced keys through automated management. Keys are stored in tamper-proof cabinets that can only be accessed by authorized users with pre-programmed PIN codes, access cards or biometrics. All access activity is automatically logged including time, date and identity of the individual accessing the cabinet. Additional information such as when a key is scheduled to be returned or the location of a stored key (i.e. which key cabinet in the system) is also available.

Physical Keys

The use of physical keys is exceptionally cost effective; therefore, the ability to store and track said keys provides an immediate and affordable improvement to a property’s security policy, while reigning in management costs – an important factor when preparing or reviewing budget costs.

Does your property use RFID key cards? No need to worry, HandyTrac can accommodate keys of all types.

Integration

Our key management systems can also be integrated into an overall security system for additional savings and protection. With HandyTrac, administrators can access, program and monitor the system from any internet-enabled device. This convenience allows managers to access reports, change users, establish permission levels, and more from virtually any location. Additionally, upon request, Yardi and ResMan users with a HandyTrac Touch system have the ability to customize their experience through the use of a unique and secure work order system. Features like service order and staff data importation allow managers to quickly review staff data and execute assigned work orders directly via the Touch datalog.

With a budget-friendly key management system like HandyTrac in place, operational expenses can be better controlled and budget planning can be made easier. Contact us today to learn more.

HandyTrac Promotes Multifamily Veteran, Larry Kratz, to President

larry kratzHandyTrac Systems is pleased to announce the promotion of Larry Kratz to President. Larry joined the company twenty years ago as a Sales Executive and in that time, has advanced to Sales Manager and Executive Vice President. He has also qualified for the HandyTrac Million Dollar Sales Club.

“Larry’s drive to succeed, leadership and commitment have played a vital role in our growth and success over the past twenty years. We are absolutely thrilled to see him fill this integral position,” said John Lie-Nielsen, CEO at HandyTrac Systems.

Prior to joining HandyTrac, Larry worked in technology sales for both Nextel Communications and AT&T. Larry also worked for Dean Witter Reynolds in New York City for 5 years and has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Syracuse University.


About HandyTrac:
For over 20 years HandyTrac has been the low-cost leader in multifamily and military housing key control; managing keys for more than 3 million apartment homes throughout the country. Our cloud based systems offer instant access to archived reporting and provide the ability to manage your communities with a single login through your computer or smartphone.

For more information, visit www.handytrac.com or call 800-665-9994.

Crime Prevention Tips for Multifamily Property Managers

crime preventionAnnual events such as National Crime Prevention Month and National Night Out have long served as valuable reminders that crime is ever-present, and apartment communities are certainly not immune. With the main drivers of crime in multifamily being drugs, firearms and gangs, property managers must be aware of the problem signs and put a sustainable crime prevention plan into action.

Here are 5 crime prevention tips for multifamily property managers that can help boost retention and promote resident safety.

Make community staff easily identifiable

Property staff including leasing agents and maintenance personnel should carry a picture ID badge at all times to ensure that they are easily identifiable by residents. Additionally, all maintenance personnel should wear the same uniform. In many cases, criminals who use tools and equipment to enter residences are mistaken for maintenance staff if attire isn’t standardized.

Improve security systems

Without an effective community security policy in place, resident retention and resulting damages can become costly. Security tools such as CCTV monitoring, restricted entry systems, and electronic key control systems can make a world of difference. If you already have security systems in place, make sure they are in working order and provide community-wide coverage. Additionally, give perpetrators nowhere to hide by ensuring public walkways and parking areas are well lit.

Screen potential residents and employees

If individuals with an extensive criminal record are denied access to your community from the get-go, the likelihood of criminal activity occurring in the future is significantly reduced. Screening residents and employees can also provide current and future residents with peace of mind knowing they live in a community that values safety.

Educate your residents

Your community can be a powerful ally against crime if enabled. Remind residents to keep doors and windows locked and to report any suspicious activity. Establishing a designated email address or telephone number for community crime tips can help in streamlining the process.

Partner with local law enforcement

A partnership with your local police department can be mutually beneficial. As a property manager, you know where the crime is and what problems exist in your community. Using a your insider knowledge, local law enforcement officers can quickly establish a presence and remove wanted individuals from the community. To maintain a crime-free community, multifamily crime prevention programs and local training seminars are also available.

What is Electronic Key Control?

electronic key control systemsBefore the advent and widespread use of electronic key control systems, key management was often a haphazard process. Many multifamily communities used an honor system to store and control building keys, while institutions such as correctional facilities or medical campuses used a more formal system requiring access activity to be hand-written in a log book. The procedures were often ineffective and laborious, leaving the organization exposed to unnecessary premises security liability.

Electronic key control systems resolved these challenges with the implementation of authorized user codes and automatic tracking of key access activity. The automated systems made it easy for users to access or return keys with designated key slots and online monitoring for tracking key usage.

Today, the most advanced key management solutions have even more of a convenience factor while maintaining simplicity of use. The HandyTrac Touch system, for example, features a user-friendly interface with large buttons, a touch screen display and integration features for Yardi and ResMan users. Compared to the old, dog-eared logbooks, today’s electronic key control solutions have made the task easier and more reliable.

Electronic key control systems that you can trust

All of our systems come with a stout 18-gauge steel cabinet, electronic key locking mechanism, and computerized datalog. Additionally, property managers can run activity reports, view work orders, and more from any internet-enabled device.

Our Classic system offers several features to customize your experience and help protect your investment at an affordable cost. Taking key control one step further, our Biometric system has all the features included with the Classic, plus a biometric fingerprint verification scanner. This provides added security as only authorized employees verified via their fingerprint may access the system. Lastly, the Touch system combines biometric technology and a large touchscreen display in a single unit to offer the highest level of security, reporting, and flexibility.

For more information about our electronic key control systems, contact us today.

HandyTrac is Coming to a City Near You

multifamily trade showsWith spring nearly upon us, we’re looking forward to another fantastic season of multifamily trade shows! Visit our booth at one of the shows below for a demo, and see firsthand how our systems uniquely manage keys and prevent premises liability. We hope to see you there!

Select an upcoming trade show below for more information:

Apartment Association of Greater Dallas – 3/20/2019

Texas Apartment Association – 4/10 – 4/12/2019

Washington Multifamily Housing Association – 4/17/2019

Apartment Association of Greater Orlando – 4/24/2019

Utah Apartment Association – 4/24/2019

Indiana Apartment Association Reverse Show – 5/9/2019

Bay Area Apartment Association – 5/9/2019

Arizona Multihousing Association – 5/9/2019

Atlanta Apartment Association – 5/15/2019

Houston Apartment Association – 5/16/2019

Austin Apartment Association – 5/23/2019

Apartment Association of Metro Denver – 5/23/2019


For over 20 years HandyTrac has been the low-cost leader in multifamily, student and military housing key security; managing keys for more than 3,000,000 apartment homes throughout the country. Our cloud based systems offer instant access to archived reports and provide the ability to manage community keys with a single login through a computer or smart phone.

To learn more about our key security systems, contact us today.

Customer Tip: Using HandyTrac’s Key Binder to Improve Property Security and Efficiency

When you pull a key from your key management system, it’s important to carry a similar security policy with you into the field. Here are three ways our key binder helps HandyTrac users improve property security and efficiency:

improve property securityKey Security, Outside the Box

When employees store keys in their pocket or vehicle, the likelihood of those keys landing in the wrong hands increases exponentially. Our simple yet sturdy key binder prevents key loss through the use of specially designed metal key clips. For added security and peace of mind, HandyTrac users can instead opt for our multi-key distribution pouch, offering a zip enclosure and space for up to 25 keys.

Added Convenience

Using our key management binder or multi-key distribution pouch, property staff can pull and securely carry numerous keys at the same time. So, instead of returning to the HandyTrac system for each individual key, property staff can conveniently accomplish a full list of work orders in the same trip. Additionally, our key binder and multi-key distribution pouch are light and versatile, making them perfect for staff always on the go.

Affordable

When compared to the cost of loss and/or replacing keys on a regular basis, a key binder quickly pays for itself. We offer three budget-friendly options so you can purchase only what you need. For more information about our key binder and multi-key distribution pouch, visit our online shop or contact us today.