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Does condo owner have to give property manager key to unit?

Posted on Thu, Jan 06, 2011 @ 03:00 PM
I own a Condo in Brooklyn, NY. We have lived there for 6 1/2 years. The property manager is asking everyone in the building for a key to their unit in case of an emergency. He said it was in the condo books, but I never saw that. I wouldn't want anyone to have access to my condo. I have a dog. What do you think? Can he make us do this? Thank you very much for your advice.




posted @ Thursday, January 06, 2011 3:29 PM by mr.leisureville

If the declarations say that the Association or their representative have the right to access, usually it states 'reasonable notice.' If there is indeed an 'emergency' the fire and/or police departments can break the lock or door to gain entrance, at your expense. In our condo complex, the declarations say that the Association has a right to 'reasonable access with notification.' In other words, they cannot just come into your unit without notifying you and/or asking permission. So technically, there is no reason for them to have a key on a permanent basis. Our Association gives the keys to workers who have lost them, who then break the lock to gain access because they've lost the key and don't want to tell the Board. That happened to us, and when we replaced the lock we did not give the Board a key because the type lock we purchased has a key type that cannot be duplicated. We told them we would be happy to give them access with notification as stated in the declarations. They did not object. Try that with the board. Usually they just like to have keys for their own convenience. Like I said, in a true emergency, the authorities will just break the lock. Read your declarations, or ask the board to show you where the language is that requires that you give them a key. Hope this helps. Linda

posted @ Thursday, January 06, 2011 3:38 PM by Linda

Incase of an emergency-for example a burst water pipe inside a unit-the buiklding manager shoukls have a key. Yiou-have a dog?? Do your documents permit dogs?>? Even so If dogs are permitted the building manager shouklds know of that animal and if emergency access is required he casn deal with the dog. It is in every reident's interest that building management access be facilitated.

posted @ Thursday, January 06, 2011 4:10 PM by Scott

No way. In an emergency, the fire department or police can gain entrance. Obviously, this is a new situation in your condo. It was never previously enforced, so why start now. This is yet another breach of your privacy and security. I would not give in without a fight. Hopefully, the condo documents do not force you to give up a key. Who wants strangers having unlimited access to you home and property,

posted @ Thursday, January 06, 2011 7:06 PM by condo hater

Suppose the problem is neityherb a piolice nor a fired departmnen t emergency. For example the unit above you springs a leak in the washing maching and the unit owner is away for a few days. Your ceiling is slowly showing siognsd of wetness and is startiung to sag, What would you expect yopur consdo manager to do. I would hope he'd use the key and enter that apartment just in time to stop the flow of weater and save yiur ceil;ing from falling down on top of you??????You coukld reply he could break the door down if he lacked the key. Let's suppose he did that and found the water was coming from the unit above the one he broke into. Now who pays for that damage. In any well managed condo the manager holds keys to every door in the property which has a lock and he is held responsible for any action he takeswhich requires use of those keys.

posted @ Thursday, January 06, 2011 8:43 PM by Scott

I can't say what your State Law says regarding that, I can say our Florida Condo has the same basic requirement. In our case 43 of 44 unit owners gave their keys (which are kept in a secure lockbox only Board members have access to), the lone person who hasn't is perfectly within their right to refuse. This person recently suffered a very bad fall and no-one could access the unit. This person laid injured for 23 hours before authorities broke into the unit and got medical aid to the person. If something other than injury or worst were to happen, this could be your situation. If a water-pipe burst and floods other units, you could suffer a lawsuit and major expenses. But you MAY certainly be within you right to a reasonable expectance of your privacy. (I'm no lawyer, but you could seek one out if you have a major concern.)

posted @ Thursday, January 06, 2011 9:22 PM by cebo

Of course management should have a key. Stop being a jerk. Give them .key.. 
Avoid problems of all kinds. Give up the key

posted @ Thursday, January 06, 2011 9:51 PM by Dannny Greenberg

You know, Danny, we are guaranteed by the constitution of the United States protection against unlawful search and seizure of our personal property. I do not believe Brooklyn is being a jerk, he/she is merely protecting privacy rights. If there is a flood, turn off the water at the main line, and call the unit owner. If the problem comes from the unit above, either the Association or the unit owner are responsible for damages, as determined by the declarations. Water damage occurs very quickly. I doubt even having the key would prevent 'further damage' once flooding has occurred. Like I said earlier, emergency personnel would break the lock if necessary. Don't give up your key unless your declarations state specially that you must provide a key and not just access. Just because you live in a condo doesn't mean you give up your rights as a citizen in this country to protect your personal property.

posted @ Thursday, January 06, 2011 10:22 PM by Linda

After the unit owner who refused to provide key recovered from his injuries did he change his position on this key issue??

posted @ Friday, January 07, 2011 7:33 AM by Scott

Scott, you act as though the Association having a key would have shortened the length of time the person was unable to reach emergency care. Someone had to notice, and once that happened, nothing prevented them from calling emergency personnel. Living in a condo is not any different than living in a single family home. Accidents happen, and neighbors do not necessarily notice all that quickly. Why do you think so much money is made on those emergency necklaces and call centers?! I do not think Brooklyn should give the Association a key!

posted @ Friday, January 07, 2011 8:06 AM by Linda

Living in a condo is not the same as residing in your own home. By joining such an association you become bound by the rules and regulations that goverrn your use of your dwelling unit. It is normal that keys to all doors in a condo are kept in a locked cabinet in the building manager's care. Should an occasion arise where the manager has to effect an emergency entrance to a unit he can be held responsible for that action. If you do not have enough trust in your building manager to act appropriately in such an emergency situation I strongly suggest you change building manager and obtain the services of one you do trust. This emergency access is not an infringement on your constitutional rights. It is simply an application of common sense for the benefit of the association and all the residents.

posted @ Friday, January 07, 2011 9:21 AM by Scott

On top of wanting our Condo keys the Property Manager said he is allowed to enter our units without notification. So he can come into my apartment while I'm in the shower and don't hear the doorbell?  
I spoke to some of my neighbors and we would like to get rid of this Property Manager. We need to find out how to do this. 
Thank you for all the reply's. I am worried sick here.

posted @ Friday, January 07, 2011 10:09 AM by Joyce

In my condo many of the u7nit owners were very disattisfied with our building manager, Such a position may be filled in two ways. First the manager could be supplied by the managemnent company and secondly he/she could be hired by the Board of Directors. 
In bith instances it is the perogative of the Board by majority vote to terminate that individual and select a replacement manager.. Perhaps a p[etition signed by unit owners would be sufficient to cause the Board to take action.

posted @ Friday, January 07, 2011 1:23 PM by Scott

Living in a condo is quite different than living a single home. In the condo you are constrained by thast associaions rules,in the single home you set the rules. Having all keys in possession of a building manager is of benefit to all members of the association and that is the basis for all unit owners to comply.

posted @ Friday, January 07, 2011 2:42 PM by Scott

With the abundance of cell phones, it is likely that almost anyone can be reached at almost any time - day or night. In an emergency (other than police and fire), water and other utilities can be shut off to a building for a period of time while board members or property management try to contact the owner (by use of the cell phone). All owners who provide cell phone numbers (and NOT keys) should be aware that utilities will be shut off for a specific window of time (i.e. 4 hours) before emergency access would be made (at the owners expense). In addition, those who choose this option should have someone nearby (friend or relative) with a key that would allow access within this window of time. This seems like a reasonable alternative to me.

posted @ Saturday, January 08, 2011 8:38 AM by c

And if the unit owner is out of town and has his phone what do you expect him to say about entering ??

posted @ Saturday, January 08, 2011 9:06 AM by Scott

Good answer, c.  
And Scott, I don't know where you live, but please. If the homeowner is willing to live with the consequences and pay for expenses that some imaginary emergency may or may not cause, the Board should back off! Our Board was only concerned that we understood we would be responsible for damages caused by our unit. Their having a key to our unit would not prevent us from being responsible if something in our unit caused damage to another anyway. That wasn't a problem for us. Some homeowners just didn't want to deal with having to be available, so they gave them a key. We've had issues with agents of the Association damaging our unit (including breaking the lock we had to replace at our expense). So needless to say, we will not give them a key. Again, check your declarations to ensure it requires a key, and not just access.

posted @ Saturday, January 08, 2011 5:03 PM by Linda

Do not accept your reasonaing.This issuen has nothuing to do with documents nor state law-just common sense.

posted @ Saturday, January 08, 2011 5:32 PM by Scott

Scott...you don't have to accept my reasoning. The advice is not to you, but to the person from Brooklyn who asked the question. In my opinion, the common sense thing is for 'access' which does not necessarily mean a 'key.' In my mind, there is a greater chance for abuse given the many complaints on this site about all sorts of Association Board/Association matters. There is absolutely no emergency that requires a key, and even if the Association had a key, it should call before entering. At one point in this discussion Brooklyn stated that the manager told him/her they could enter at any time without notification. I find that appalling and an invasion of privacy. Again, if giving the Association or the Association manager is not a requirement of the declarations, then I would NOT do it. That would be my right, and that would be a common sense thing to do for me. Remember, my Association's agent DAMAGED my unit because he had a key and unattended access!!! My common sense tells me not to do that again.

posted @ Sunday, January 09, 2011 7:00 AM by Linda


posted @ Monday, January 10, 2011 10:58 PM by RUBEN

Reasons for Immeadiate Emergency Entrance: 
Flood causing damage to other units or common areas. (with multiple hundreds of units occurs more than once a week) 
Hurricane alert: Furniture must be removed from balcony.  
Smoke Alarm set off. Occasionally--once or twice a year. 
Relatives of resident haven't heard from them and ask the condo to check on them. --Occurs sometimes and we have have saved lives--actually. 
Forcing a door or breaking a lock causes delay--and further damage. 

posted @ Tuesday, January 11, 2011 4:57 AM by Danny Greenberg

Your reasons for entering the unit are valid; however, I do not think the are valid reasons for giving a key. It's nothing to break the lock, just ask any thief. Our Association agent broke ours with a screw driver. Nothing was taken, but the heat was turned from low to high. We think he just wanted to stay there while we were gone. Evidence of pillows and blankets piled on the sofa that were not there, etc. We couldn't prove it was him, so we had to pay to replace the lock ourselves, and for the significantly higher heating bill as well. As for water damage, turning off the water at its source will take care of that until the homeowner can provide access...i.e., maybe giving a key to a trusted neighbor. I just don't trust the Association. They have in the past just entered units without asking permission to show people renovations a unit owner recently made. They did that several times with ours because we've made significant renovations to our unit. We were told after the fact. If you are really concerned about the key, and the declarations say you must, then install a web cam. You will at least see who is coming into your unit. The question in the beginning was, 'do I have to do that?' means the homeowner was willing to accept responsibility and risk for damages, and must not have wanted to hand over a key. Brooklyn...you don't have to give them a key unless forced by the rule of law of your Association. Even at that, I'd question the legality of their 'rule.' The rule of law of the state in which you reside is the only enforceable law.

posted @ Tuesday, January 11, 2011 7:01 AM by Linda

(Hint) Give them a key that doesn't work. They want to make a ridiculas rule then you can give them a ridiculas answer. Most of these property managers don't leave their office anyway.

posted @ Tuesday, June 21, 2011 10:59 PM by ComonSense#1

Besides it maybe risky if people claim that things were taken out of their condo. There is no way I would want to risk being in someones condo, and an association should have enough sense to know this.

posted @ Tuesday, June 21, 2011 11:03 PM by Duh!

Great idea about giving them a key that doesn't work!

posted @ Wednesday, June 22, 2011 5:12 AM by Linda

Yes, you must provide a key. Do your bylaws permit dogs or do you have a Doctor/s script which asks for an accommodation for a dog. Do your bylaws limit size of dog ifd they are opermitted in your condo??

posted @ Wednesday, June 22, 2011 8:48 AM by Scott Adler

Scott...whether a unit owner must give a key depends on the language in the declarations. If it says "access" then a key is not required! The dog is a separate issue.

posted @ Wednesday, June 22, 2011 9:05 AM by Linda

Check the state condominium law--

posted @ Wednesday, June 22, 2011 9:17 AM by Scott Adler

Avoid giving them a key if you can, especially if you have several handymen or doormen who have access to the key. Remember, you OWN your condo. It is your home. We allowed the building manager to have a key to our condo and a random handyman walked into my condo yesterday, not expecting me to be home. God only knows how many times someone's been in our apartment before. Keep your key, install an alarm system, and buy a gun and learn how to use it.

posted @ Wednesday, November 16, 2011 7:05 AM by Nina

My association management has (not now) my unit key, and twice I have walked into the unlocked office with the keys box unlocked and open. I have taken my own key back and will not reuturn it until they can prove that all the keys are secure. Workmen on the property have acess to the office as well. I am livid that this has happened twice and plan on letting other unit owners know about the breach in security of the keys. And the office as well!

posted @ Friday, October 26, 2012 11:59 AM by Sharonie

I just purchased a condo and was requested to provide a key for emegency purposes. It was explained that providing a key was optional and that in emergency situations, it would be wise to provide the board with a key to minimize my exposure to a broken water pipe. I provide the association with a key inside an envelope with my name written along the sealed flap with indication that my unit has a motion camera and will captured any unauthorize entry not involving an emergency or reasonable notice.

posted @ Wednesday, October 02, 2013 5:43 PM by Sin

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