As far as Cyprus is concerned, gated projects (including the installation of cameras internally and externally of the project) is a recent development which has come about by the increasing crime (thefts) and the need of having an increased sense of security. We can say that these gated need for protection started 25 years ago and as time passes, more and more projects adopt the need to have this facility, which, also adds to the project’s selling points.
I wish to share our experience with you, however, on the pluses and minuses of such gated or electrically controlled entrances of projects.
- There is a feeling of added security and privacy.
- Unwanted visitors are discouraged as well as speedy traffic.
- Traffic is reduced primarily to local residents and their visitors.
- Cameras can be installed to coincide with the main gate door openings, as well as elsewhere within the project (careful on the personal/data limitations) adding to the secured feeling.
- An evident initial basic indicative cost is around EUR 4,000.
- Estimate for annual maintenance expenses around EUR 300-400.
- Visitors/owners with no code or who forgot the code or the remote control as well as pool cleaners, gardeners and other maintenance have no problem in bashing the door open (in addition giving the code to others and as such the code should be changed periodically, which is not very practical).
- Visitors who are left outside the gate or if for any reason the gate is not operational is a problem. Imagine if this happens at 2.30 in the morning on your return from abroad.
A most suitable system which we find that fits the local requirements is the following:
- Place an electrically controlled gate which operates by code as well as by remote control.
- Place an intercom from the gate to each and every house (may be expensive, but necessary).
- Make sure that there is a secured box with the key of the gate which overtakes the electricity, so that if there is something wrong with the gate and electricity, you have a manual way out or in.
- Make sure that you have a sensor on the way out, so that the door opens automatically.
- Make sure that next to the gate there is another visitors’ gate operated manually for pedestrians (1 meter wide).
- Inside the project and on a permanent position place an added door or gate key and instructions in several languages for the residents.
- Avoid the bar and place a gate 2 meters high made of steel.
We have several projects under our management, five of which are gated. We have constant problems with two of the gates caused by people, including local residents (regrettably) trying to force their way in or out. In one project, we have a camera (additional EUR 2,000 cost), but we have complaints by some of the residents that we are invading their privacy (there is no pleasing everyone) and that it is illegal.
There is no easy way out other than keep the doors open until dark and have it operational after. In this way the main traffic will not cause access problems, pool cleaners, gardeners, suppliers etc, but at night, residents can feel more secured.
People with gated projects must learn to live with them, since if there is no intercom and codes etc, one must give away the code and within 2-3 months just about everybody knows it.
If you try to change the code from time to time, you will realise how many people do not bother to update themselves. Remote control gadget is a solution but then you must always remember to have it attached to the house door key ring.
We will not forget our Dutch client who just arrived at Larnaca airport (after a few drinks) not remembering the code, but remembered oddly enough our administrator’s telephone number and demanded that at 2.30 am he should open the gate. This might be a problem but other than this sort of thing the pluses have it.
I must repeat a previous advice, that placing aluminium shutters outside your home and/or place a burglar alarm (cost around EUR 1,000 per unit) and have it connected with the police or a friend when you are not in the house.
Regrettably during these difficult times in the local and world economy, crime is on the up and we have to take care of life and property.
By Antonis Loizou F.R.I.C.S. – Antonis Loizou & Associates EPE – Real Estate Valuers & Estate Agents