Is there a relationship between lockboxes and professionalism, you ask?

by Paul Cowhig, Professional Standards Advisor

I would say there most definitely is a relationship! Acting professionally is a choice you need to make everyday.

I’d like to remind you that lockboxes are available for REALTORS®’ convenience. You can never forget that a lockbox is the key to someone’s home. You need to always ensure that no-one, not even a Realtor who is unauthorized, has access to the home.

Lockbox theft happens, maybe not a lot, but it definitely happens, so if someone illegally obtains the keys inside a lockbox, especially if it’s attached to a home or building, it won’t take long for them to guess which door the key opens.

I received a call this past week from a strata condominium complex in Abbotsford about the placement of lockboxes on their building. They have repeatedly asked Realtors not to place lockboxes on — or near — their building as they have had numerous issues with criminals accessing the building after breaking into lockboxes. They have a strict no lockbox policy, but some agents have flat out ignored them. This is unacceptable.

I have asked the strata to report any violations directly to the Board. Our rules on the use and placement of lockboxes are very clear and the fallout from not respecting the rules is serious.

Realtors can, and will, lose the ability to use lockboxes if they are not very careful in their use of them.

Many strata properties have a strict no lockbox policy and you have a responsibility to check with the property management company and comply with the strata’s rules BEFORE placing a lockbox.

Here are some other lockbox best practices you need to be aware of.

SentriLock best practices

  • Keep your lockbox in your possession or secured somewhere safely.
  • Do not include your PIN number on your SentriCard or the lockbox or disclose the information to anyone else. Treat them like your credit or bank card. Would you include your PIN number with them?
  • Always confirm permissions and appointment times with the homeowner before allowing access to view the home. (This applies to the inside or outside of the property — no walking in the yard unless you have permission.)
  • Get written authorization in your Schedule A from the seller before placing a lockbox on their property.
  • Set up card notifications on your smartphone so you can properly manage lockbox access to the home.
  • If you are not using the SentriKey app, download the app and review your card information in the app as soon as possible after assigning a lockbox to a listing, or before making any customization changes.
  • Consider adding an extra code to the lockbox. This can be done on the lockbox itself or through the SentriKey app on your smartphone.
  • Always assign the lockbox to the property when you list it, so that you can track and manage your lockboxes.
  • As mentioned, make sure you check with the property management company (if there is one) BEFORE placing a lockbox on a condo or townhouse property – many DO NOT ALLOW lockboxes. If they don’t, you have your workarounds and you communicate accordingly.
  • Never identify the keys or fob in the box with the address of the property.

Many of these best practices are common sense and professional courtesy. When you choose to disregard or ignore rules for your convenience, it shows contempt and lack of consideration that could reflect badly on the entire profession.

Showing care when someone trusts you with their keys and demonstrating respect for the rules, elevates the public’s opinion of all Realtors.

Please stay safe out there and keep those keys secure! Thank you.

Source: FVREB Professional Standards & Communications