Can you imagine what it would be like if the data information your company collected from your multifamily residents got out?  Advances in modern technology have made it possible to improve multifamily property management. More information than ever is now able to be gathered about residents.  This great stride comes with a huge responsibility, however.

 

Smart Apartments and Data

 

The new age of smart apartments have some alluring benefits on both the lessor and lessee.  Apartment personnel are able to collect monumental amounts of data on residents. They are also able to integrate residents with lifestyle fits like hooking them up with energy saving units and good deals in their desired location.

 

The potential problem arises from the amount of data that apartment firms are able to collect on individuals.  But the benefit comes with an obligation. The responsibility of properly handling the data is gaining attention as data intrusions, like Equifax’s, continue to make headlines.

 

What if that information falls into the wrong hands?  Tenants risk having their sensitive information exploited.  Lessors may be liable for data breaches. The concerns are very legitimate.

 

Disclosing Data Collection to Multifamily Residents

 

It is your responsibility as a multifamily property management owner or employee to disclose to your residents what information you have collected (or are going to collect) and what is will be used for.  Your residents will respect your transparency.

 

Facts about Data Security in Multifamily Property Management

 

States legislate the rules and regulations when it comes to multifamily property management data collection.  So what happens when a management company operates in more than one state? Good Question.

 

Currently, there are no federal level laws in place currently for multifamily property management data collection, but the need is there and the government is well aware of that fact. For now, both the National Apartment Association and the National Multifamily Housing Council agree that apartment management firms should operate as if a cyber attack is likely to take place.  They advise that strong defenses should be in place at all times.

 

How Can Multifamilily Resident Data Be Protected?

 

As mentioned before, it is your responsibility to protect the data you collect on the residents of your multifamily unit.  It is important that you keep your community members safe and informed. Here are some suggestions on how to do so:

 

  •         Update your lease agreement to include language about the date you will be collecting and the purpose you will be using the information for.

 

  •         Treat data assessment (like remote smart feature utility information collection) the same as you do in giving a required 24-hour notice before physically entering a unit.

 

  •         Use a data protection program as you do (or should do) when collecting and storing vital information such as social security numbers.

 

  •         Keep your insurance and third-party contracts updated to clarify who will (or won’t) be held responsible in the event of a cyber-attack on the information.

 

The progressions in multifamily property management is revolutionary.  With the benefits comes heightened responsibilities too. With careful consideration for your residents’ privacy and security, the advances can be beneficial to everyone concerned.

 

Concerned about the security of your multifamily property? Give OSA a call. 205.778.3770