Touchless access control (also known as a contactless access system or a touchless entry systems) is more important now than ever before. While it was always more convenient to not have to turn a key or press buttons to unlock a door, COVID-19 has raised awareness of how quickly germs can spread and it is forcing everyone to rethink their personal and work behavior. Going above and beyond to stop the spread of germs is now the norm.

So, how can property managers help renters feel more comfortable when entering common areas? Touchless access systems to the rescue!

Doors in Common Areas Are Petri Dishes for Germs

Anywhere people congregate presents an opportunity for germs to spread and apartments are no exception. How property managers and maintenance staff deal with common areas like pools, lobbies, and fitness clubs can be obvious, but germs spread in many other ways and it is important to recognize those areas and have a plan for dealing with them.

Door Handles Need to Be Cleaned
Door handles are germ petri dishes.

Door Handles

One place to consider is door handles in common areas. They may be touched by hundreds of people each day and are prime suspects for spreading germs.

Temporary Options Aren’t Very Practical:

  • Cleaning wipes at the door. Have hand cleaners or wipes on the “pull” side of the door. But, that relies on every user to take action and staff to ensure supplies are constantly refilled.
  • Manually clean throughout the day. Posting someone at the door to sanitize the handles every time someone walks through is clearly too expensive. And even if you only clean the handles once/hour, that still requires an employee to do and it isn’t clear to renters that the doors are being regularly cleaned. Most people would just rather not touch the door handle at all.

Touchless Access Options for Door Handles:

  • Leave the door open. Can the door be left open during busy times to minimize contact? That will still require an employee to manually lock up when busy times are over.
  • Electric door openers. Can you install an electric door opener? If you have the budget, there are several electric door openers that can be opened with an app or motion sensor. These touchless door openers can be installed by a locksmith or even your maintenance staff.

Door Locks

In addition to door handles, the method of unlocking a door can also be an easy way for germs to spread. So, how can you use an access control system to lock and unlock the door when someone wants to enter?

Temporary Options Are Risky:

  • Leave the door unlocked. Leaving the door unlocked presents security issues and is not a risk that all property managers are willing to take.
  • Place cleaning wipes at the door. Again, having hand cleaners or wipes nearby can help but these are petri dishes for germs and avoiding them altogether is better.
  • Manually clean at different times during the day. Again, that adds recurring costs for time and supplies.

Traditional Options Aren’t Hands-Free

  • Keys
  • Keypads
Touchless Access Control Systems: Keycards
Even though keycards are touchless, they are often shared.

Touchless Access Options for Door Locks:

The good news is there are options for affordable products that don’t require residents or staff to touch anything unfamiliar.

  • Keycards & Key FOBS: Proximity card readers don’t always require contact, but tenants often share keycards and FOBs, which is not ideal. These types of systems also require property managers to have residents come into the office to physically exchange the keycard or FOB, exposing yet more people.
  • Biometric devices: Fingerprint, handprint, or facial recognition readers can carry a hefty price tag and still require residents to go into the office to register their prints or photo.
  • Cell phones using Bluetooth: Affordable, most people won’t share their phone with someone, and touchless (no physical key and no pushing buttons on a touchpad). Choose a commercial smart lock or a Bluetooth access control reader for a door using an electronic door lock.


For touchless access control systems, if you need something more convenient and affordable, consider a Bluetooth access control reader for smartphones with smart keys. These not only provide a lower-cost option, but they can be easily added to an existing system in minutes.

Users simply download an app and self-register, the building manager is notified, and access can be granted from anywhere, anytime, without having to meet in person.

Touchless Access Control: Your phone is your key!

Cell phone access control systems also deliver these benefits:

  • Touchless access control. When residents and staff use a smartphone to unlock a door or gate, they do not touch any additional surfaces (such as a card scanner or keypad).
  • Users don’t share phones like they do key cards. Users will rarely let others use their phones, which limits any exposure of others, as well as delivers some inherent security by eliminating sharing.
  • 100% contactless setup. There’s no in-person setup needed to give someone a key. Property managers don’t have to go into to the office or meet someone to issue or revoke anyone’s access. That can be done anytime from anywhere by simply using a cloud-based portal.

Residents will always want to feel safe where they live, especially in a post-COVID world. Smartphone access control makes it easy for property managers to provide secure, touch-free access to building entrances, parking, amenities, and more to ensure the right individuals have access and unwanted visitors are kept out.

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