If you are an apartment complex owner or manager, Latch is the best thing since sliced bread. Hang with us as we interview resident expert, Greg Heine/NICET Level III, out of our Omaha and Lincoln Midwest Alabranches as to why we can make such a bold claim. You might even like this solution more than bread...and we can almost guarantee that your tenants will, too!

Q: What is Latch?

LatchOS is a keyless entry system made specifically for residential apartment buildings. Residents can now access their building and their unit completely wirelessly. It’s a full-building operating system of software, products and services designed to make your building safer and more efficient. Best of all, no hardware is required and they’ve thought of all checks and balances! 

Q: How does Latch differ from Openpath?

Openpath can be used anywhere and in buildings of all sizes whereas Latch is only used for residential apartment complexes. It has multi-tenant properties in mind. I have yet to find a limit on size, either. We did an 800-door job recently! 

Q: How easy is Latch to install, maintain and use?

All of our Midwest Alarm Services teams can install Latch for you. As for the property owner/manager, it’s extremely easy to program and make updates and changes. Latch was designed to be self-sufficient so everyone using it will have an even easy time with it! 

Q: Why do tenants love Latch?

It’s mobile-friendly. Latch caught on that pretty much everyone carries their smartphone (or Apple watch) on them at all times. It’s a lifeline. So, they designed the system around current times. However, in the instances where tenants happen to forget their phone or its charge is dead, everyone is assigned their own individual PIN number to enter in the keypad. If for some reason a tenant forgets their pin, they can use the intercom to contact the on-duty property manager or maintenance person and be let in. Another use for Latch cameras so the party in need can be easily identified. 

If all else fails, your property managers would be the only ones with access to physical keys for each door. 

Q: How do tenants give access to their guests?

Tenants can send mobile credentials to any guest for a set amount of time from one day to an infinite amount of time. This is useful for dog walkers, house cleaners, deliveries, family members and so on. 

How it works: send a pin to your guest via the app. This ensures you never have to share your personal pin! 

Q: What if tenants don’t want to give guests access?

There is an intercom system that integrates with the smartphone app. So, say they are using Grub Hub to order dinner, the delivery driver would find your name in the intercom to call you and you can let them in the building’s front door. It’s strongly encouraged to use Latch’s integrated camera system for an added measure of safety. 

Q: Are there any other integrations?

Latch will integrate with some video camera systems; please contact Midwest Alarm Services for more information on that. They are also integrating with smart apartment features such as thermostats, lighting, wall outlets, etc. 

Q: How are the locksets powered? 

Wireless locksets are battery powered so your maintenance team will get notifications when the battery power reaches 20%. Remember, manual keys can always override the system if needed. 

Q: Is it 100% cloud-based?

Yes, which means there are no computers or servers onsite to buy or maintain. The fee is for annual software hosting. When it’s time, you get notified to upgrade the system’s firmware. This can be done in a snap via the app or any web browser. 

Q: Where is the cost savings? 

  1. No computers or servers to buy or maintain. 

  2. No access cards to purchase since it’s 100% mobile. 

  3. No need to re-key the locks and make new keys every time one of your tenants moves out. 

  4. Reduced payroll hours to do all of the above!

Q: Are access cards or key fobs an option if needed? 

Yes, key fobs can be made upon request but it’s not required. They are very helpful to lend out to contractors (plumbers, electricians, etc.) who are in and out frequently for the day or on an ongoing basis until the project is over. You can assign them a pin but the key fob prevents them from having to download the app for a temporary job. 

Q: What are some of Latch’s other safety measures? 

Your tenants are notified anytime someone has entered their apartment unit. This can help weed out property managers who aren’t following the rules and notifying tenants upon entry. You can also see the report of everyone who enters the front door of the building, which can help with investigations if any type of crime has happened on-site.

Q: What about tampering or hackers?

Latch has a secure, encrypted connection back to the cloud host so hacking has not been an issue. There really is no way to physically tamper with it other than removing the card reader from the wall but this would not allow access to an intruder. Plus, a signal is immediately sent if any Latch unit has been tampered with or damaged. The locksets are securely mounted in place so I don’t foresee that happening. See the next Q & A for what happens when someone tries to break in by guessing your pin. 

Q: Tell us more about the optional cameras?

All devices have a camera built-in! When activated, you’ll always see who came to the door, whether your tenants are home or away. If someone is using random codes to attempt a break-in, Latch sends real-time alerts to your property manager and the tenant. Note, a video feed of this event is not available at this time but a still photo is sent. Latch will begin sending after only one unsuccessful login and every time thereafter until ceased. 

Q: How soon before my changes go live? 

Whether adding a new tenant or making other necessary changes, they are all done in real-time. Many other manufacturers are set up to run once/day and often at night so there is a delay but not with Latch! It’s done instantaneously so your updates are live right away. 

Q: Will the locksets fit my existing doors? 

Yes! The Latch lockset should slip right into place when removing the existing lockset in the vast majority of cases (I’d say 99% of the time!). 

This new technology for apartment complexes definitely has Greg’s seal of approval and that’s backed by a long list of very happy customers. Give us a call to see if Latch is right for you!