Condominiums, Security, and Online Deliveries

J.H. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I’m actually a Property Manager looking for some creative ideas. Running into a growing issue of granting building access for home deliveries. With the rapid increase of online shopping and Amazon’s move to sub-contracting delivery to what is similar to an Uber driver (think Postmates or Lasership), leaves me in a dilemma. You can’t arrange access as you might with USPS or FedEx with regular drivers. And some buildings want residents to rely on their keys or fobs and not issue the building door code. Some buildings do allow codes to be issued to residents and then that code is included with delivery instructions. I understand the need for security, but would also like to accommodate residents in buildings that want to restrict the use of access codes. (these are smaller communities with no onsite staff). Much thanks for any ideas.

Mister Condo replies:

J.H., thank you for the question and for your forward thinking. Obviously, security systems in condos are designed to keep undesirables out and residents safe. The idea of allowing unfettered access to buildings and units does not jive with that philosophy so many of these newly created delivery services are, by design, incompatible with condominium safety protocols. In my opinion, one of two things would need to happen. Discontinue the security protocols. Allow anyone who wishes access to the property. This will allow the good in with the bad but it may be the only way to allow delivery of such products without providing security clearance. This is a terrible idea because it removes the security that many unit owners want, expect, and purchased when they bought into the community. The second solution is to disallow the use of these services. This, too seems extreme but it allows for the existing security protocols to be kept in place. This was how the community was designed, it is what owners expect, and there was never any such delivery service to content with when unit owners purchased so they cannot realistically expect any changes to their security service. Effective, but neither adaptive or forward thinking. The final solution may be the most practical and it mimics the current protocols for allowing visitors on the property. The unit owner takes responsibility for the delivery company and allows them on to the property just as they would allow any other guest. If that means they need to be home when the delivery comes, so be it. If they can’t be home then they can’t use the delivery service. No need to restrict the delivery service or the unit owner. And, just like any other guest that is one the property at their request, they are responsible for that guest’s behavior. Delivery companies are notorious for parking in fire lanes, blocking driveways, etc.. If they break rules while they are on the common grounds, the unit owner may decide it just isn’t worth the “convenience”. Condominium and HOAs have rules and regulations and security systems for a reason. It isn’t too make life easier; it is to make it more enjoyable and more secure. Home delivery of groceries and condominiums just may not be a match made in heaven. Good luck!

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