We have recently started to receive concerning news from occupiers at schemes in Gaythorne and Lutwyche that plastic key safes/locked boxes are being targeted by thieves. These locked boxes are accessed or broken off so that the key inside can be used to enter a building’s common areas.
The type of key safe/locked box being targeted (pictured left) – very different to the welded metal key safes which are accessed by utility meter readers.
Key safes/locked boxes are often installed on the common property without a committee’s knowledge or approval by a real estate agent and are used to provide quick access to agents/contractors so that they do not need to chase the owner or travel to our office to obtain a key to the common property.
The concern for many bodies corporate when a locked box goes missing is whether or not a new set of locks and keys for each owner will need to be issued, as this can be an expensive exercise for the body corporate.
Once the issue is brought to our attention we immediately contact the real estate agents who we know manage lots within the building to see whether they have removed the locked box, and advise the committee accordingly.
At this stage we are not recommending that committee members have locked boxes installed at the scheme for the reasons set out above.
For those schemes where a committee member lives on site (depending on that committee member’s work/family commitments), contractors can be directed to contact that committee member on site for access. This also allows that committee member to report back to other committee members about the work undertaken to the common property.
Another option is to have Capitol hold a spare key or keys to any common property doors. This would mean additional travel for a contractor and the body corporate needing to have a signed register of when a key was checked in or out of Capitol.
The third option for regular contractors like cleaners or gardeners is to issue them with a key for access as required to perform their duties. Upon termination, keys are returned to Capitol to hold until a new contractor is appointed or the committee advise otherwise.
Unfortunately, we cannot hold individual keys to an owner’s lots; however real estate agents can hold these for owners as needed.
With the proliferation of social media, occupiers can join or follow local suburb crime watch/Neighbourhood Watch type groups through Facebook or Twitter for real time updates on break-ins and thefts in their local area.