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The neighbor who lives down the street is going through a difficult divorce. She has a restraining order against her ex-husband and does not want anyone allowed to come to her unit without notice and/or prior approval. One day, this woman calls the management office to complain that the cable man came to her door unannounced. Even though she called for service, she does not want any vendor permitted access to her unit without her approval and she must receive a phone call!

There are often different situations with different expectations for access control in a gated community. In the latter example, the cable repairman had several service calls in the community that day, and he received the service order for the divorcee’s unit after he had drafted the address list that he supplied to the guard at the gate. Accordingly, the cable man showed up unannounced, if not unwanted. The guard followed the association’s policy, but the vendor did not! As you can imagine, this homeowner would not appreciate flowers waiting on her door step when she returns from a day of shopping. She might think her ex-husband was stalking her! The community manager probably needs to have a discussion with the cable company in this case to be sure the situation doesn’t recur in the future.

On the other hand is the lady with the thoughtful son, who was very disappointed she didn’t receive her birthday flowers. The association’s policy was properly followed, but there was no loophole for the florist! It’s a bit harder to manage the expectations in this case. Hopefully, residents are certain their families know the policies of the gated community. Perhaps the son needs to make friends with his mother’s neighbors or be certain he knows the contact information for

the property manager so he could have enlisted some help with the surprise delivery. The flowers could have been delivered to a knowing neighbor or to an accommodating management office, so both mother and son would have been happy.

In a gated community, utilizing technology will assist the manager in balancing these expectations. Thankfully, there are software applications used for access control, which allow homeowners to create a list specific to their wishes regarding guests or “special deliveries” that should be allowed or forbidden access to their unit. Many of the applications are web based and offer apps for homeowner convenience. While technology is a tool and offers some assistance, not all residents will embrace or use it.

Juggling the expectations in property management is never easy or predictable. A good manager is always thinking on his/her feet trying to find ways to satisfy the constant demands associated with the needs of his/her community. Managing a gated community is no exception and can provide a few more challenges, like access control. No challenge is too great for the manager who knows the secret handshake or magic password!

 | 

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