A question regarding video entry phones is a worry for me as Chairman of our Residents Association. In view of the increase in potential crime incidents and that a large proportion of our residents are Senior Citizens, we recently arranged for the installation of a new video system.
It was felt that the old system was not correctly used as we often found members of the general public wandering around our building.
We are extremely happy with our new system as we are able to keep track of all visitors/deliveries to our building.
My worry is as follows…..
It now appears that two of our residents are proceeding with extension phones to other parts of their flats. These systems are not video entry but the old answer and release system. In my opinion our security is now compromised.
Am I as Chairman obligated to advise the rest of the residents of this potential change to our security system, or do I not mention it as these extensions are internal and paid for privately?
The FPRA replies:
In my own block we have the basic system which does cause the problems you have highlighted, with some residents just letting in any one that buzzes which defeats the object of security.
As far as the specific problems you have identified with certain flats taking it on themselves to provide extensions within their own premises, this would probably be a matter for the lease to determine whether such changes are permitted, and you may want to consult your solicitor about this.
My guess is this will not be clarified clearly within the lease, which will mean you require a more diplomatic approach.
You don’t say whether this practice by some has resulted in actual crime, or just fear of crime, but either way I would recommend contacting your local neighbourhood police team or neighbourhood watch coordinator to discuss with all residents the importance of security measures, including the use of entry phone systems.
One of the common things we experience is local businesses claiming they have a delivery for another flat in a block just to be let in, and so often residents will let them in and then check who they are.
The truth is any system like this is only as good as the way it is operated by the flat-dwellers.
If you have any specific concerns about businesses gaining entry I would suggest contacting trading standards.
The police could also provide advice on your block becoming a ‘no cold caller’ zone. This of course not always universally popular and will need to managed carefully.