Changing your door locks

Owners of condo apartment units do not own their front door or anything attached to it. That includes the door handle, the unit number and the lock.

Owners are not allowed to drill extra holes in the door to install a second lock nor are they allowed to change the existing lock unless they have written permission from the board.

Of course this rule is not enforced in many condos. However in new condos, especially higher-end ones, this rule may be strictly enforced.

At all times, the management office is required to have a key to all locks on all residential units. This is so that in case of an emergency: fire, water leaks or medical issues, they have access to the unit.

Legal proceedings may be taken against an owner who refuses to provide a key to all locks on their unit door.

Super charged with breaking in Toronto condo apartment, committing sex act
North York Mirror
02 March 2016

Jorge Leon    Toronto Police Service/photo

A building superintendent has been charged after a suspect allegedly broke into a Toronto apartment, committing a sexual act and stealing property while inside.

According to Toronto police, a man entered an apartment while no one was home on Friday, Feb. 17. Once inside, he allegedly committed a sexual act and stole money before leaving.

Jorge Leon, 49, of Toronto, was arrested Sunday, Feb. 26 and charged with break-and-enter, mischief interfering with property and theft.

Leon has been the superintendent of a condo building in the area of Yonge Street and Finch Avenue West for more than 14 years.

The very rare incidents like the one described above may cause some owners to change the locks in their units. This is not wise.

Questions & Answers
Q. Can the board of my condominium prevent me from installing an electronic/keypad lock on the exterior part of the door to my unit? It is a matter of security and convenience that is very important to me. The board told me I cannot do this as it wants to maintain "uniformity of appearance."

A. The entrance door of a condominium unit is typically part of the common elements; albeit limited common elements in many associations. Similarly, the covenants for an association typically include language that requires board approval for any addition, alteration or improvement to the common elements. Such language should be applicable to an owner's desire to install an electronic/keypad on the exterior of the unit door.

Many associations do place uniformity of appearance of the exterior of units as a high priority. This should serve as a reminder that owners in associations do give up rights that they might have if they did not live in an association.

David M. Bendoff is an attorney with Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit in the Chicago suburbs.

Video cameras
It is far smarter to install one or more hidden video cameras in your unit. Not only can they record audio and video whenever they sense motion, they can send the data live to your smart-phone, or computer, so you can see and hear what is going on. Better yet, with some models, you can talk to the person(s) who are in your unit.

A very high-end condo in Toronto offers a service where the concierge delivers parcels to the residential suites. A resident was in Florida when a parcel was dropped off in her apartment.

The concierge left the parcel at the front entrance and then opened the refrigerator and helped himself. Unknown to him, her hidden cameras recorded his theft and sent the video to her smart-phone in Florida. She forwarded it to the property manager and the man was kicked off the job site.

(Note that I said he was transferred to a different condo; he was not fired.)

top  contents  chapter  previous  next