Different HOAs take varying approaches to securing their properties—some rely entirely on video surveillance, some utilize intercom systems and leave it at that, and others want a living, breathing security personnel to patrol and guard their community. Hiring security staff is no small undertaking, however—there are multiple questions and issues that must be considered in order to ensure the safety of residents and protect your association from unnecessary liability.
To Go Solo, or Go Professional?
With all the responsibility—and potential liability—involved in providing security staff to residential buildings and associations, it's important to consider whether your HOA's board/management team will hire personnel directly, or work with an established security firm that will in turn provide staff.
Jack Jackson, president of Clark & Ramson, an employee screening company based in Somerville says he's encountered many management companies and boards who have attempted to hire security personnel the same way they would a superintendent or groundskeeper—by performing interviews and background checks themselves, without the guidance of a professional. While going out and hiring security staff directly may save a little money, the do-it-yourself approach definitely has its drawbacks.
"It increases the building's liability if they terminate someone because of something found in their credit history, for example, and the employee was not completely aware that their background was being checked," says Jackson. "[Professional firms] have forms that make the employee aware that a background check will be done. The company is protected if the employee says, 'I never gave you permission to check my information'."
External investigation firms also have access to local, statewide and national databases from which they harvest their data, and they comply with laws about collecting and handling personal information.