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Protect Your People, Properties, and Profits with an Effective Key Management Policy

Effective key management policies minimize liability exposure, reduce expenses, protect employees and residents, and improve operational efficiency.

Your property’s key management system is only as good as the policies that guide its implementation. Even the most sophisticated intelligent solutions rely on a strong protocol and an employee team that understands and follows established procedures. When it comes to developing your key management policy, there are three important areas to cover.

Minimize Liability Exposure

Replacing keys is expensive and time consuming. To reduce the likelihood of key loss, store keys in a visible, secure, and locked fixture and location. Traka’s HC Series key cabinets, for example, provide controlled and automated access for up to 500 keys. Additionally, consider restricting individual access to multiple keys at a given time and limiting key access to new and unproven employees until they gain your trust. Most importantly, do not label your keys in any way. However, because not all properties use electronic systems like Traka’s that eliminate the need for labeling, if you absolutely must label your keys, change your labeling system frequently and always update your system when an employee departs your company.

Protect Your Employees

You rely on great employees to keep your property running smoothly. A strong key management policy protects your valued employees when it includes fail-safe procedures to reduce incidents of blame for theft or key loss. Explaining to employees the way the policy protects them is critical to obtaining employee policy buy-in. Your policy should include a clear process for documenting and time stamping key removals and returns. Additionally, strong policies eliminate handwritten key logs and key handoffs to other employees in the field. You can provide retractable key lanyards so employees can secure keys to themselves to reduce loss while on the property. Most importantly, effective key management policies prevent keys from ever leaving the property. They also stress that employees report missing keys immediately.

Protect Your Residents

Resident satisfaction is critical to maintaining a positive property reputation and a high tenant renewal rate. There are several simple practices you can include in your key management policy to keep residents feeling safe and valued. First, review your key logs frequently to look for red flags like an employee’s frequent or repeated access of certain keys. Use email notifications to communicate key status to residents. Residents feel secure when they know management is tracking and documenting individual key access. Additionally, effective key management policies limit and document after-hours key access. Property managers who review access documentation at the start of each business day further reduce the likelihood of incidents related to key mismanagement. 

COVID-19 and Key Policy

COVID-19 introduced a range of scenarios property managers never before had to address. It is now critically important to protect your employees, residents, and vendors from exposure to infection. You can accomplish this by using key logs to contact trace employees who are exposed to infected tenants or vice versa. Additionally, consider restricting access to units housing infected or exposed residents whenever possible. For example, perhaps your maintenance staff can leave a new lightbulb outside the door rather than entering the unit to install it. Finally, digital key logs available over the web allow employees working from home to monitor key access and to units housing infected or exposed residents.

Keys play a critical role in your property’s success and reputation. A strong key management policy that minimizes your liability exposure and protects employees and residents will also reduce expenses, improve operational efficiency, and minimize the impact of COVID-19.