Security in retirement villages is better, together

One of the key motivators for people contemplating a move into a retirement village is the prospect of good security – but this will unfortunately not materialise unless all residents are prepared to do their bit, says Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet estate agency group.
“Security in a complex is everyone’s business – not solely the responsibility of the management committee – and what this means, for a start, is that all homeowners need to be involved in the decision-making about what level of security they want, how the system will be monitored and maintained, and what actions will be taken when security is breached,” he notes. 
“This is especially important if, as is quite often the case these days, a large percentage of the homes in the village are occupied by tenants and the owners will not be present to monitor the situation or take action themselves. There needs to be a simple, set plan or list of instructions and numbers that everyone has access to and can follow.”  
Obviously, most owners would opt for maximum protection if possible, but this also has to be weighed against the costs of installing CCTV cameras and intercom systems and of employing full-time guards, which usually translate into higher monthly levies, Kotzé says.
“On the other hand, residents may decide that the additional cost is worth it for themselves or their tenants to have peace of mind, especially since most villages do not allow residents to keep dogs and many place restrictions for aesthetic reasons on changing the exterior appearance of the units with burglar guards or other security equipment.”
Once the security infrastructure is in place, he says, owners also still have to agree on who will actually be responsible for running the communal systems on a day-to-day basis. “Who will check that surveillance cameras are working, for example, or maintain the electric fence, or fix a faulty gate motor?
“And then they need to think about any special security measures to be put in place during holiday seasons when many residents may be away, and also what specific actions are to be taken – and by whom – if the village security system is breached at any time.
“They need to decide, for example, who will be responsible for calling police, their security company or emergency services in the event of intruders getting into the village or any other emergency arising. In fact, this reaction procedure should be set in place as soon as the village is occupied and communicated to all residents. Tenants should also be made specifically aware of it as soon as they move in.” 
Meanwhile, says Kotzé, it is worth remembering that many people also want to live in retirement villages so that they can have like-minded neighbours that they know and can count on – “and that the best way to foster such an atmosphere is to be a good neighbour yourself – which includes keeping an eye out for anything suspicious that could have an effect on the community as well as your own family or property”.

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