How to Balance Access Control With Convenience in Multifamily Housing

Here’s why you want to make sure to take convenience into consideration when installing multidwelling access control and how to do it.

The modern-day tenant values convenience, but that convenience cannot come at the expense of security. That is the real challenge facing building owners, and luckily, solutions exist.

Modern access control systems designed for customization allow building owners to improve the property’s security while adding a level of convenience for the newest generation of residents. More than just a marketing strategy, though, newer technologies and systems can also provide unique operational benefits to facility managers.

Intuitive and simple management tools make it easier to control access and manage the creation and distribution of credentials, providing a quick and efficient method for replacing lost credentials or securing a unit when tenants move out.

When choosing an access control solution for a multidwelling unit (MDU) project, property owners and managers are faced with addressing the best way to maximize the customer experience while still maintaining a sophisticated level of security.

Let’s take a look at options that allow MDU managers to implement an access control system that achieves both of these goals.

Wireless Solutions

In recent years, access control systems began to shift toward wireless solutions, as they provide installation, operational and cost benefits for property managers. Unlike hardwired alternatives, wireless systems can often be installed in less time and for a fraction of the price. When retrofitting a building, implementing a wired access control system is often cost-prohibitive.

It requires drilling through the door, from the lock side to the hinge side creating a quite the challenge. This is a time-consuming process, adding to the overall labor costs of installation. Also worth noting, installing a wired access control system will generate a fair amount of noise and disruption to other tenants.

Additional benefits of a wireless access control system include real-time monitoring, audit trails and instant control management. With each unit and common area doors on the same system, managers can monitor and control the entire building either remotely or onsite.

Tenants can be provided unique access rights that can then be revoked quickly and efficiently once they move out. Both smartcards and mobile phones can be used as credentials for most wireless solutions, adding flexibility.


With the introduction of a single, comprehensive device or card that can be used to gain access into a building among other features, creating a more user-friendly experience is much easier in the multifamily setting.

Allowing cards to gain access not only to unit entries, but also to shared areas such as gyms, laundry facilities and parking structures makes using an electronic access control system even more appealing to residents as well as managers.

Typically, it can be cumbersome and expensive for facility managers to continually replace lost keys or constantly handle changing locks in an MDU property. By implementing a more advanced access control solution, replacements can become quick and inexpensive.

A manager will simply issue the tenant a new card, and with an advanced system, the user list can be updated in real-time or as soon as the resident uses their new card. There is no need for managers to physically visit the door to update.

Mobile Access

Mobile support is one of the largest growing areas within the access control segment. With consumers integrating their mobile phones into their everyday life and routine, the security industry took the opportunity to capitalize on the public’s increasing dependency for their handheld devices.

When utilizing smartphones as part of an access control system, managers can provide a convenient and practical solution while still maintaining the security and accessibility of the system. It’s important for the end user to have their access credentials for both a personal unit and shared areas combined on one source.

Additionally, updates are seamless with mobile technology. Modern systems allow user credentials to be updated with the capabilities of Bluetooth or near-field communications (NFC) technology, receiving credentials “over the air” (OTA).

Certain mobile solutions also allow the ability for users to receive mobile “keys” anytime and anywhere. This is especially useful for maintenance workers as managers can assign when they have access to certain units as well as shared spaces.

Recent advancements in access control address the demand for greater convenience while also providing an increased level of security. Wireless solutions utilizing both smartcards and mobile devices allow managers to provide an efficient, streamlined user experience.

Gordon Holmes is a product manager for Hager Companies overseeing the commercial hinges, electrified products lines and new HS4 access control line. 

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