It is also a cloudy issue as to whether a company can terminate employment if an individual commits and is convicted of a crime while they are in the employment of the company. If such a crime were a low level crime, that could be thought of as a "gateway" crime such as possession of pornography, soliciting prostitution or prowling, but not a crime sufficient to be made public in any way that the company would easily find out there is a sense that the crime would likely not be reported to the employer and therefore would not cause any concern for increased risk to tenants. It is also interesting that is required that owners and managers of apartment complexes must inform tenants of increased risk, if such occurrences, or more serious ones occur in within the complex, but there does not seem to be a precedence for if the crime is committed by a property manager. (Loss Prevention Concepts Ltd. " Apartment Security Management: Consumer Tips" (http://www.lpconline.com/apartments2.html)
In a Delaware case, Kahn v Jupiter Western et al., a home invader and sexual predator gained entrance to a town house unit by kicking in the door of the apartment. The tenant claimed this easy access was obtained because the deadbolt was improperly installed and there was less than a one inch throw, which is the minimum standard. While this allegation concerning installation deficiency was, in fact, accurate, it proved to be irrelevant because the police photos of the damaged door frame clearly indicated that the deadbolt was not engaged at the time of the forced entry.
In a Michigan case, Neff v Harbor Towne Apartments, an intruder gained entrance to an apartment via a sliding glass door and sexually assaulted a tenant. This plaintiff readily admitted she hadn't used the secondary lock on this door since it was inconvenient and she felt the thumb latch should have been sufficient. In many other cases, plaintiffs have admitted that they did not utilize the deadbolts provided, but claimed they thought that the spring locks or key-in-knob locks should have been sufficient to prevent the entry of intruders, since they had not been advised otherwise. (Loss Prevention Concepts Ltd. " Apartment Security Management: Consumer Tips" (http://www.lpconline.com/apartments2.html)
As can be seen from the reading of both these case briefs the individual committing the crime was not an agent of the owner of the property, and therefore had little connection to liability. The point being made by the article is that secondary locking systems do not work if they are not engaged, nor do they work if the individual has a key to them, either way the individual entered the apartment illegally and should be culpable for damages. One suggestion is that owners and management companies explain secondary lock mechanisms to tenants and have them sign a consent to such knowledge. Another option for the owner is to install a deadbolt that does not have a key mechanism on the outside of the door, which bars entry by anyone, at least for a time. This is not logical for many people as legitimate members of the household then cannot access the house if someone inside has locked the deadbolt, and the owner or his agent cannot enter the property in the event of a legitimate emergency. If such a deadbolt had been applied to this tenants door, there would have been limited ability of the manager to enter her apartment, assuming she had used such a device.
Regardless of the outcome of this suit, it is likely that ABC will in the future take much more care as to screening employees, possibly as much as they take to screening tenants. In fact it would likely seem odd to even a judge that screening equivalent to tenant screening was not done on an employee, as presumably ABC would have access to such screening at nominal fees. Then again there is the issue of discretion for screening tenant applicants as well, as many companies do only limited tenancy screening, (not including criminal background checks) in a quest to fill vacancies as quickly as possible. Liability will again be determined not on the simple facts of the case study but a more detailed and auspicious investigation into the screening of the employee.
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Loss Prevention Concepts Ltd. " Apartment Security Management: Consumer Tips" Retrieved September 18, 2007, at http://www.lpconline.com/apartments2.html