Security vs. Privacy Striking the Balance in HOAs

When we step through our front doors and turn the lock behind us, we expect to feel content in the knowledge that we are safe and sound in our home, and the community in which we live. The boards and managers who oversee these communities also are seeking to ensure that safety is a top priority, and that residents do not have to worry about the well-being of themselves, their families or their property.

But where is the line between security...and snooping? Today, a broad range of options exist when it comes to monitoring and securing properties, and it is a field that continues to evolve as new technologies emerge. At times, these technologies may stir up questions regarding privacy, but for many communities, those issues are outweighed by a desire to have as many safeguards as possible in place.

“Security is a key factor for individuals and families when choosing a residence,” says Janett McMillan of ADT Security Services. “For this reason, awareness is heightened and a high level of security is now an expectation.”

Keeping Safe

The ways in which co-op and condo communities approach security have changed over the years, moving from a reliance on security guards and regular patrols to more access control and visual monitoring.

Most recently, “There’s a trend away from manned guard gates to electronic systems,” says attorney Jeff Rembaum, a partner with the law firm of Kaye Bender Rembaum in Pompano Beach. For example, asking residents to hold a driver’s license up to a camera to gain access to an association's grounds. “It saves a lot of money for the average community,” he adds. For 24 hour/seven day a week on-site security personnel, a condo community or association could be paying upwards of $100,000 annually. Electronic surveillance or access control can represent serious savings, Rembaum says.


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