Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 29
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    14

    Question Do You Have to Give Your HOA an Alarm Access Code

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: FLORIDA

    I have lived here for 10 years in peace and quiet. All these people know me and until this, we've gotten along. Now we have a new Assn president who is being difficult.

    Property management or the Association have lost keys to my unit twice since I've lived here. The first time, I replaced the door knob and gave them a new key to it. My door now has two locks, one for the deadbolt, the other for the knob. This year, when we switched property management companies, it was discovered that they have lost the key to the deadbolt also, and rather than replace the deadbolt, I gave them another key and installed a monitored security system.

    They have keys. They can open the door to respond to any emergency. Now the HOA is asking that I provide them with an access code, even though the Declaration of Condominum doesn't mention them. Seeing as how they have lost my keys in the past, and have also behaved improperly, I no longer trust them with the ability to disable my alarm. I have responded back to them that lack of an access code does not create a physical impediment to enter my unit in an emergency, and that the Declaration of Condominium makes no mention of security access codes.

    Our Declaration has two sections that address access to units, the first one is the right to go in due to an emergency. I am not questioning that one. The second states that they can go in for maintenance and what-have-you ONLY at reasonable times and with reasonable advance notice. I am not opposed to that one either.

    The exact wording to the first section is:

    "In case of any emergency originating in or threatening any units regardless of whether or not the owner is present at the time of such emergency, the
    Board of Directors of the Association, or any other person authorized by it, shall have the right to enter such unit for the purpose of remedying or abating
    the cause of such emergency, and such right of entry shall be immediate, and to facilitate entry in the event of any such emergency, the owner of each unit,
    if required by the Association, shall deposit under control of the Association a key to such unit."

    The problem is that there have been instances where the people with access to the keys have entered units for reasons unknown. I am the only person with an alarm system now, but others have cameras with motion detection recording 24/7 that can be accessed through the internet/apps. You can get one for like $50 nowadays and if that's all you need, then it's a cheap way to semi-secure your space and be notified of activity. 90% of the owners here are snowbirds who don't leave anything of real value to worry about, and being retired, they can dispense with the expense of a monitored alarm system which is going to cost over $1,500 a year. So these owners noticed the past president of the Association entering their units and they went nuts. Chaos ensued. Past president got voted out. But understand that what prompted these folks to install a camera was that the PREVIOUS president before him had ALSO done the same thing. There is a history here of bored retired men snooping.

    So it seemed like a good idea to get a security system to prevent unauthorized access.

    The alarm is set to silent. There will be no annoying noises if someone were to trip it, but even so, I can turn off the alarm myself with my phone from anywhere, even overseas. No neighbors will be bothered. Most of these people aren't even here most of the year. Our building is 90% empty from May to November.

    Unlike 90% if the owners, who actually have their permanent residence elsewhere, this is my permanent residence and I reside in my unit all days of the year. I receive mail here. At any given time, there could be investment statements, bank statements, checkbooks, credit cards, cash, sensitive identity documents, electronics, jewelry and other valuables left in plain sight. Therefore, I require the reasonable advance notice for non-emergencies that the Declaration says I'm due to allow time for me to inspect and secure that which I deem sensitive or valuable. And I can work from home whenever I want, so if they need to come here for anything, I can arrange to be here.

    And let's not forget that they have lost my keys twice. Who knows who has them. I should have insisted they rekeyed or replaced my locks. I don't want my access code to fall into the wrong hands. It doesn't look like their key control policies, if they have any, have been any good in the past.

    If my water heater broke, and water is flooding my apartment, how does a silent alarm going off prevent anyone from dealing with the water heater when they are already inside my apartment? Our current property manager lives 45 mins away in Delray Beach. His distance is more dangerous in an emergency than the lack of an alarm code.

    I am okay with them having keys. But nowhere in the Declaration is an access code listed.

    I've considered giving the Assn an access code that will only work when they give me reasonable notice of needing access. I can activate and deactivate codes from an app on my phone all day long, if so inclined. I can also make the code I give them the "distress code" which will unwittingly dispatch the police to my unit right away. This first is my "Plan A", to be honest. The latter will be my "Plan B" if I find them accessing my home without notice for non-emergency reasons. Not sure if that opens me to any liability if they have to go in due to a real emergency and then the police shows up?

    So, do I really have to? Thanks in advance.

    Trish

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    4,301

    Default Re: Do I Have to Give the HOA an Alarm Access Code

    How do they even know you have the system?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Do I Have to Give the HOA an Alarm Access Code

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
    View Post
    How do they even know you have the system?
    Yes, they found out I installed a security system and now the want an access code. I placed a sticker saying that the unit is being monitored, so I'm guessing the property manager noticed it when he did the weekly walkabout.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    18,340

    Default Re: Do I Have to Give the HOA an Alarm Access Code

    I think you are right that the alarm system doesn't prevent access.

    The only issue I can foresee is that you might get charged a penalty by the monitoring company for false alarms if they went in without the code.

    Otherwise, were I in your place I would just say no and see how far they push it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Do I Have to Give the HOA an Alarm Access Code

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    I think you are right that the alarm system doesn't prevent access.

    The only issue I can foresee is that you might get charged a penalty by the monitoring company for false alarms if they went in without the code.

    Otherwise, were I in your place I would just say no and see how far they push it.
    Thank you, that's what I was thinking. See how far they take it. They are claiming they can fine me for not providing an access code, but I'm not sure how since this isn't listed anywhere in the Declaration.

    I won't be charged by the Police Dept until the third false alarm in a calendar year, and even so, the fines are not enough to bother me. I don't think they'll have the gumption to experience this more than once. I can have the police arrest someone for trespassing if they don't have a good reason for being in my unit.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Do I Have to Give the HOA an Alarm Access Code

    A key to allow access is all you appear required to provide. Until the hoa can provide support for the demand to provide the code, tell them to pound sand.

    In the event of an emergency the alarm does nothing to prevent access to the unit and as such, is irrelevent to the concern of being able to access a unit in the case of an emergency.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    14

    Default Re: Do I Have to Give the HOA an Alarm Access Code

    Thank you. I was just wondering if anyone knew whether a Court would consider my alarm codes the same as keys and force me to hand one over. I want to comply with whatever the law is.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Do I Have to Give the HOA an Alarm Access Code

    In this situation the only law that applies is the law of contracts. I don’t see the provision requiring you provide a key anything beyond allowing the physical entry of your unit in the case of an emergency. The code to your alarm does nothing to aid nor prevent entry.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Do You Have to Give Your HOA an Alarm Access Code

    Florida grants condo owner's associations statutory rights to access owners' units.
    Quote Quoting Florida Statutes, Sec. 718.111(a)(5)
    The association has the irrevocable right of access to each unit during reasonable hours, when necessary for the maintenance, repair, or replacement of any common elements or of any portion of a unit to be maintained by the association pursuant to the declaration or as necessary to prevent damage to the common elements or to a unit.
    I don't see any authority directly on the issue of alarm codes, but I have found an arbitration order that implies that the provision of an alarm code would fall under a requirement to provide keys. (The owner in that case denied having an alarm, and was ordered to provide keys and access such that the COA could verify that there was no alarm for the premises.) It is not clearly unreasonable for an arbitrator to read a key requirement expansively as including an associated access code.

    As should be obvious, if you give the COA a distress code that immediately summons the police, you are setting yourself up for something between a stern lecture and a criminal charge for causing what amounts to a false 911 call and a huge waste of police time.

    If you give your COA a code that works, then later change the code so that you get advance notice, you'll still have to deal with the consequence -- the 99.9999% certainty -- that they'll end up entering your home before you receive and approve a notice that you receive on your app. You can evaluate for yourself whether the risk you create of a false alarm is significant, given the probability that your COA will have to enter your unit when you are not present.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Do You Have to Give Your HOA an Alarm Access Code

    Does the alarm company allow for multiple access codes?

    There could be a code for you--turns off alarm, and a code for the HOA which triggers a notice that entrance has been made and doesn't trigger emergency status for the police to respond. You'd probably be able to track when their access code gets used...

    1. Sponsored Links
       

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Disorderly Conduct: Communicating a False Alarm Charge for Triggering a Fire Alarm
    By RajuM in forum Criminal Charges
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 07-19-2016, 12:10 PM
  2. Eviction Process: How Much Access Do I Give Former Tenants to Get Their Stuff
    By str8sin in forum Landlord-Tenant Law
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-20-2010, 04:23 PM
  3. Who Has Access to Security Code
    By awclark in forum Landlord-Tenant Law
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 01-19-2010, 05:58 PM
  4. Criminal Investigations: Fire Alarm Goes Off, Can The Police Enter and Give MIP's
    By Tiltz in forum Police Investigations
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 06-03-2009, 05:11 AM
  5. Parking and Access: Can Landlord Change Gate Code and Refuse to Give New Code to Tenants?
    By Bluemeanieeater in forum Landlord-Tenant Law
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 10-20-2008, 12:29 PM
 
 
Sponsored Links

Legal Help, Information and Resources