Things Landlords Need to Know About Master Keys

master key

A Master key is one which is capable of over-riding all other locks configured in a master key system, and opening them up to gain access. No other key in that same system would have such a capability, having only the ability to open the single lock associated with that key. There are some obvious advantages to a landlord or property manager is having a master key system installed for a given building since it would allow access to all individual apartments within the building, and provide emergency access when needed. But installing a master key system also calls for some responsible control measures on the part of the holder, just because of the power it wields.

Points to remember about master keys

The worst-case scenario with a master key system would probably be to lose the master key itself or to have it found or stolen by someone with malicious intent. Someone holding that kind of power could access any apartment in a building, and be free to cause damage, remove objects at will, or even to bodily threaten occupants of the apartment – all while leaving no visible traces of entry. This means that only the most trusted individuals should be given access to a master key and that the location of a master key should only be known by someone who has the complete confidence of the landlord or property manager.

All other locks in a master key system can be completely changed out without affecting the access of the master key, and this allows a property manager to change locks after a tenant leaves without having to disrupt the master key system itself. That is just the kind of flexibility needed for large apartment complexes, where tenants routinely come and go. Security can be maintained in the master key system, without having to undergo the constant expense of changing the master key system itself.

On the negative side, an improperly designed or constructed master key can lead to the possibility of a knowledgeable criminal subverting the master key and gaining access to an entire building. This is because of the inherent nature of master key systems, in that the locks themselves are much easier to pick than individual locks, and a professional thief is often aware of this fact.


While the convenience aspect of master key systems is unquestioned, from the standpoint of security, high-security locks may be better options than multi-lock systems, especially in situations where entry to buildings could potentially be an issue. To install the right kind of security system for your apartment building which incorporates both convenience and security, you should contact your commercial locksmith and discuss your needs with an expert.

Intercom Systems Help Retain and Attract Tenants

When multi-family apartment buildings are being constructed, it’s not often that the individuals involved are thinking about tenant retention, although it does become a major concern of apartment managers when the facility is ready for habitation. At that time, retaining tenants become of prime concern for an apartment manager, and many different considerations are reviewed and implemented in an attempt to keep good clientele in residence.

One thing which often escapes the attention of apartment managers is a high-quality video intercom system. Although this type of system provides significant benefits to both tenants and management, and is, therefore, one very good way of attracting and retaining tenants – and providing great ROI for investors.

Security advantages

Intercom systems that feature voice, video, or other communication access provide for much better security at an apartment building, and they allow access to only those individuals who are visually or audibly identifiable by tenants inside. Having this kind of secure access means there will be far fewer break-ins and much less crime at the facility so that tenants are safer and building owners can keep their investment better protected. There are even some ripple effects to this arrangement, including lower overhead costs, less damage to the property, and an enhanced image of the apartment building and its ownership.

Access control

When there are many tenants dwelling in the same building, it becomes essential to have proper access control so that unauthorized access is either minimized or eliminated altogether. The most capable video intercom systems are able to record images of all persons entering the building, for the purpose of authenticating individual access. In some cases, video and audio intercom access can even be used to provide keyless entry to the building, which makes for much greater tenant convenience, while providing all the benefits of excellent security for management.

Millennial appeal

The largest single group of apartment renters has now become millennials, and this trend is sure to continue for several years into the future. That being the case, it makes great sense to appeal to this specific demographic group and provide enticements which will bring in larger numbers of millennials, and keep them as residents for a long period of time. By catering to the largest target audience available, video and audio intercom systems can be one of the most useful ways of attracting this desirable audience to move in and stay there.

Anytime is the right time for security

Even if a video/audio intercom system was not envisioned at the outset of a building’s design or construction, it can always be incorporated into the security system afterward. Your commercial locksmith will be a great resource to find out about what kind of system will work best at your facility, and how it can be conveniently and affordably installed and maintained. The benefits provided by intercom make it a system that should be considered, whether your facility is old, moderately recent, or completely new to the community.