Advice and Opinion

High-end security tips for high-end tenants

All over the world, glamorous high-rise living in urban centers is in vogue again among high-end renters, mostly for reasons of convenience but also for greater security.

“In South Africa, we see this trend catching on in the rising demand for luxury apartments and loft units in Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard, City Bowl and Claremont nodes; in Sandton in Johannesburg; in Umhlanga in Durban and along the beachfront in Port Elizabeth”, says Andrew Schaefer, MD of leading national property management company Trafalgar.

“Most of these apartments offer residents the opportunity to live in style close to upmarket shopping and entertainment facilities as well as their offices, and many offer spectacular mountain, sea or city-lights views that add to their attraction”.

“However, our experience is that the primary concern of this category of tenant is top-notch security while they are in residence, and when they lock-up-and-leave to travel or attend to business elsewhere.”

Consequently, he says, they should be aware that not all luxury apartment blocks are equal when it comes to security measures, and make a point of checking these themselves before signing a lease.

“Most modern apartment blocks have electronically-secured doors and underground garage entrances, and there is usually a fulltime concierge or security guard in the lobby of a luxury building, but other measures such as biometric access control; security cameras covering the entrances, lifts and stairwells; a text message confirmation system for visitors entering or leaving the building and lifts that work on key-cards do add extra layers of security.”

Schaefer says that any in-house pools or gyms should also be double secured with residents-only access, and that there should also be CCTV surveillance and monitoring of rooftops, children’s play areas, fire escapes and any in-house business centres, conference rooms and restaurants.

“Residents who travel frequently should also check to see that there will be no mail or newspapers piling up in a visible post box while they are away – and first prize would be to find that the apartment they are considering has a smart system enabling remote monitoring via cell phone whenever they are out.”

And finally, he adds, even the most secure buildings are not islands unto themselves. “It is thus incumbent on prospective tenants to also survey the exterior surroundings and make sure they are clean, well-kept and properly lit.”