In recent years there has been an explosion of AirBNB rentals available. So much so, that some towns in New Zealand are suffering from a lack of rentals.
But with the rise in AirBnB there has also been a rise in opportunistic crime as thieves target home either knowing they will be empty, or knowing someone new has just arrived.
So how do you keep your home, and your guests, safe? How do you give guests safe access without giving an open invitation to professional or opportunistic criminals?
Is it still wise to use a lockbox? Should you leave the key with a neighbour? What about a locking letterbox?
Master Locksmiths Association of Australasia (MLAA) members are increasingly reporting instances of thieves using mobile phone cameras stuck into letterbox slots to find these keys. The average letterbox is unfortunately only of light duty construction and is relatively easy to break open.
Key safes or lockboxes are built much tougher and offer a better option, if you have somewhere on the property to secure them. There are plenty of cases of these being forced open as well, however, as today’s thieves know exactly what’s inside.
Then there’s the ever-present potential that unscrupulous guests will run your keys down to the local key cutter to make copies.
So what can you do? Thankfully, there are some great alternatives.
Restricted key systems
The simplest upgrade from a set of traditional keys is a restricted key system. These are extremely common for commercial users, and while they’re not often found in residential settings, they’re a good option for short-term accommodation.
Chubb locksmiths in Auckland is one of New Zealand’s leading providers of residential and commercial security solutions. Their mission is “protecting people, their property and assets.” Chubb describe restricted key systems as a series of keys where the key blank is a registered design key profile, which is licensed to registered locksmiths and is not available at any unauthorised key cutting facility.
- Due to the restricted profile key’s shape and size, it cannot be duplicated on any other key blank
- On setting up your key system, nominated approved signatories are captured for authorising changes and purchasing additional keys.
- All signatures are verified prior to any changes to the system.
- Restricted Profile key systems are ideal for master key systems where full control over access levels is required.
Restricted keys can also offer customisable access, meaning different keys grant different levels of access. For example, an AirBnB host with multiple properties could have a ‘master’ key that unlocks all of them, but guests are given a key that opens only the property they’re staying at.
Electronic access systems
There are an ever-increasing profusion of electronic access systems available on the market. These range from straightforward keypad systems to internet-enabled smart locks or high-end systems designed for large commercial users.
ARC Security and Automation provide high security access control solutions to that are perfect for AirBNB applications.
These systems are specifically designed to permit the free flow of authorised guests into your home, whilst denying entry to would-be thieves. This allows effective management of who goes where and when.
Electronic access control solutions usually include the following components:
- proximity keyfobs/cards and readers,
- PIN code keypads,
- hand-held remotes,
- a variety of electronic door locks and automatic door closers,
- door reed switches,
- Request to Exit switches,
- the electronic control equipment, and
- the management software.
A good electronic access system is arguably the best option for AirBnB hosts. There are a variety of systems that allow hosts to issue guests with fixed-term access, either a digital key sent to their phone or a code that expires at the end of their stay. There are even some systems that integrate directly into apps like AirBnB, HomeAway, Vrbo or FlipKey. Another advantage is that many electronic access control systems have an audit feature, so it is easy to know who accessed which door at what time.
Electronic access systems are a bit more expensive and not every locksmith installs them, but the payoff is no risk of keys being lost, stolen or copied.
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