Private Security Has Pros And Cons

The Toronto Star − Condo Living Section
Condo Living sent the following question to Shlomo Sharon, President, Taft Forward Property Management Group


I am a member of a condominium board of directors. Our complex consists of two high-rise towers with a common gatehouse manned with a security guard at all times. During most evenings there are two guards on duty.

For the past couple of years we have experienced numerous incidents of poor quality service from the guards. I feel the security company in an effort to maximize profits, is employing individuals who can't follow even simple tasks, such as making sure visitors are announced to the resident or seeing infractions around the complex on the video system.

The turnover of guards (due to low wages, I assume) is very large; most guards don't last more than a couple of months. Could the condominium corporation be held civilly liable if a resident or visitor is attacked and injured and it can be proved that the level of security was lacking?

It is my belief that if we terminated our contract with the security company, we could afford to hire private security at a better rate of pay, better qualified and with a lower turnover rate. When I suggested doing this at a budget meeting the property manager quickly responded it was not a good idea and would cost more. Could you give me your opinion?


As a member of the board of directors of a condominium you must take all necessary steps that a "reasonable prudent person" would take in a comparable circumstance.

This is in accordance with Section 37(1) of the new Condominium Act, which provides that directors must: (a) act honestly and in good faith and (b) exercise the care, diligence and skill that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in comparable circumstances.

It is your obligation, as a board member, to take reasonable steps to ensure that a qualified security company is hired to secure the gate.

I would recommend that you, together with the property management company, thoroughly check the company's record and determine if it carries sufficient liability insurance. It is also very important that their employees are bonded and properly trained.

If the board is not happy with the guards' performance, it should bring the matter up with the security company and review its performance. If there continues to be no improvement, then it may be time to look for another company.

The property manager should obtain quotes from other security companies, review the details of what the service would provide and then the board would be better able to make an informed decision.

If you consider hiring security guards, as employees of the corporation you should be aware you may be assuming additional responsibility, the potential for increased liability and perhaps added costs to the condominium corporation. This would include employee benefits, insurance and cost of uniforms, to mention a few. There are also legal implications of hiring an employee versus entering into a contract for services, and you would need to inquire with your legal counsel to determine what those issues may be.

After you have compared the costs and the ramifications of hiring private security over a security company, if you find it more beneficial, then by all means do it.

Quick Contact

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