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Keyless entry systems can pose privacy risks for tenants

If you're the landlord of a newer apartment building, your tenants may use any one or more of "smart access systems" to lock and unlock their doors. Personalized key fobs, smartphone apps and biometric identifiers (like facial recognition technology and eye scans) are becoming more common.

While these new technologies increase convenience for tenants and landlords alike, some people have raised concerns over how much personal data these new technologies can give landlords about their tenants. Moreover, how can landlords use (or misuse) that data?

New York legislators have proposed legislation that would prevent landlords from using the data to monitor, harass or evict tenants. New York City Councilmember Mark Levine, the author of one bill, said, "We need to have strong regulations in place to protect tenants from the misuse of this data by their landlords." His bill would also limit the data collected via these technologies to a tenant's name, contact information and apartment number. Among other things, it would also prohibit landlords from selling any data they collect to third parties.

Another bill, proposed by Councilmember Brad Lander, would prohibit landlords from requiring tenants to use these smart technologies instead of old-fashioned keys.

One New York politician is taking similar action on a federal level. Brooklyn Congresswoman Yvette Clarke introduced legislation that would ban the use of facial recognition and other biometric technology housing that's federally funded. She proposed the bill after people in her district complained about its use in their public housing complex.

Even though these proposals haven't yet been passed, it's wise for landlords to keep the privacy rights of their tenants in mind if they have personal data collected by keyless entry systems. If you have questions or concerns or if your tenants have raised the issue with you, it may be wise to talk with an attorney. They can help you take steps to avoid legal problems.

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