Find the Best Smart Access Control for Apartments for 2021 & Beyond

Is your access control outdated?

If your tenants must use a traditional key to access their apartments and any amenities, then your access control system is out of date. Today’s tenants want a modern smart building experience. From managing smart home devices with an app, to smart access control, and more, your tenants want the latest smart home technology.

Adopting smart access control can help you get ahead of your competitors. Plus, it can create a great tenant experience, improve security, make visiting easier, increase revenue, and more.

Wondering if smart access control is right for your apartment building? We’ve got you covered with our guide to smart access control. In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about access control – and the top access control systems. To start, let’s look at what smart access control is.

Table of Contents:

  • What is smart access control for apartments?
  • How does smart access control for apartments work?
  • What are the types of smart access control for apartments?
  • Why should you use smart access control for apartments?
  • What is the ROI of smart access control for apartments?
  • What features should you look for in smart access control for apartments?
  • What are the best smart access control systems for apartments?
    • BeHome247
    • Brivo
    • ButterflyMX
    • Homebase
    • Openpath

What is smart access control for apartments?

Smart access control automates entry into your apartment building, units, and amenities. Instead of a physical key, your residents can use a key fob, code, their smartphone, or even biometrics to unlock their unit and access amenities or common areas.

For property managers and owners, smart access control also allows you to track who is entering and leaving your property. Many smart access control systems provide an activity log to help you monitor who is on your property.

The ability to connect your access control to your other property management and device control systems is what makes access control smart. Most smart access control also connects to smartphones. 

You can choose a standalone smart access control system. However, the better choice is a complete property and device management platform with smart access control. That way, you have everything you need to manage your property and access from one platform – instead of having to navigate multiple point solutions.

How does smart access control for apartments work?

Smart access control for your apartment building generally begins with installing smart locks. Depending on your access management provider, you’ll need to look for door locks with specific connectivity (like Z-Wave or WiFi). 

When residents want to enter your building, their unit, or amenities, they use the access control method (like an app on a smartphone) to gain entry. Visitors, your maintenance staff, vendors, dog walkers, and more can also access your building with temporary smart access (like a code that expires after a few hours).

Many access control systems provide a dashboard to easily monitor and control access to your apartment building.  

What are the types of smart access control for apartments?

Smart access control comes in a variety of types, many of them touchless. Depending on your system, residents might use a keycard, keypad, mobile access (like a smartphone), video recognition, or biometrics to access your apartment buildings.

While all types of smart access control work, residents generally prefer accessing everything with their smartphone or other smart device. That way, they don’t have to keep track of a keycard or remember an access code.  

Why should you use smart access control for apartments?

Smart access control offers you and your tenants a wide array of benefits. Here are some of the top reasons to use smart access control for your apartment building:

Convenient tenant access

Everyone has been locked out of an apartment or home at some point due to losing the key. Waiting for a locksmith or a staff member to open the door can be frustrating and time-consuming.

With smart access control, tenants don’t have to worry about remembering their keys. Instead, they can use a smartphone app or keycode to enter and exit your building and their unit. Easier access creates a better tenant experience, which improves tenant retention and satisfaction.

Easy visitor access

When your tenants have visitors, those guests have to wait for your tenants to let them in. Or, they have to wait for another resident to enter your building and enter along with them. This wait creates a poor visitor experience. It also poses security risks by allowing unauthorized people to enter your building.

Smart access control gives authorized visitors quick access. With a smartphone app, a one-time code, or any other short-term access method, smart access control reduces visitor wait time. Happier visitors mean happier tenants who want to stay in your building.

Simple vendor and delivery access

Similar to visitors, vendors and delivery people need to access your building. To let service providers into your building, your team has to manually let them in. This slows down any vendor work. It also makes your team less efficient.

With smart access control, vendors and delivery providers can access your building the same way visitors do. Short-term access codes or apps allow vendors and delivery providers to quickly enter your building and get everything done. Timely work and delivery create a better tenant experience and less work for you.

Improved security

Smart access control also improves building security. Traditional keys can be copied, and traditional locks can be easy to break into. Moreover, with traditional access systems, unauthorized people can easily slip in behind authorized residents and visitors, posing a security risk to your property and tenants.

With smart access control systems, residents or thieves can’t copy the digital key. If an authorized person gets an access code, it’s easy to change it with smart access control systems. And, with smart visitor access control, it’s harder for unauthorized visitors to slip in behind residents. Smart access control can help you secure your property better and keep your tenants safe.

Access log

Traditional access systems don’t keep track of who enters and exits your building. You have to depend on an entry log to monitor visitors, which is unreliable. There’s also little way to track when residents, vendors, and maintenance providers are entering and leaving.

Smart access control provides a digital log of everyone who enters and exits your building and each unit. This helps keep out unwanted visitors. It also provides a log of whether your maintenance staff entered a unit. So, if a resident claims you didn’t address maintenance issues, you can provide digital proof that you did.

What is the ROI of smart access control for apartments?

Now that you know the top benefits of smart access control, you might be wondering what the ROI is. Here are some of the ways smart access control provides a positive return on your investment:

Higher rent

Having a smart access control system can help you charge more for rent. According to Apartment Guide, residents are willing to pay an extra $33.52 per month for secured access. A smart access control system can help you increase revenue, offsetting any investment in smart access control tech.

No rekeying locks

When tenants move out, you must rekey your locks. This involves paying for a new key and a vendor to change your locks. With smart access control, you don’t have to make any physical changes to the lock. Instead, you can change the code or app permissions for the door. Not having to rekey your locks can save you money, creating a positive ROI for smart access control systems.

Reduced work

Traditional access controls systems mean your team must manually monitor and grant access. As such, you have to have night shift team members to let residents into your building. Smart access control systems automate access. This reduces the time your team has to spend on access. And, it reduces the staff you need to manage your building, saving money and boosting your ROI.

What features should you look for in smart access control for apartments?

You have a lot of options when it comes to smart access control for apartments. But it’s important to choose the right one to maximize the benefits and ROI. Here are some important features you should look for in smart access control for apartments:


Many smart access control systems lack flexibility. These systems limit what access control hardware you can use with the software. In addition, these systems can’t grow and scale as you do.

So, you should choose a smart access control system with flexibility. That way, you can choose the hardware that works best for your property. The system you choose should also be able to meet your needs in 5 years as well as it does today. This means you won’t have to completely replace your access control as your needs shift, saving money and time.


Along with flexibility, you should also look for a smart access control system that is comprehensive. Many access control systems only do access control. To manage the rest of your property, you need additional solutions for property and device management. Multiple tech solutions can be hard to manage and expensive.

Instead of a point solution, you should look for access control that’s part of a larger platform. A comprehensive platform will not only help you manage access control but also manage all your day-to-day activities and IoT devices. Fewer tech systems are cheaper, cutting expenses – and easier to navigate, improving efficiency.  


A hard-to-use access control negates many of the benefits of smart access control systems. Instead of making tenant access easier, a complicated smart access control system can make it a headache. In addition, hard-to-use access control can create more work for your team and vendors.

You should look for a smart access control system with a simple and easy-to-understand interface. An easy-to-use smart access control system should also have a tenant app that makes access simple and quick. Making sure your access control system is easy-to-use helps create a great tenant experience and make your team more efficient.


Another feature you should look for is reporting. Smart access control systems can help you track who is entering and exiting your building. However, without reporting capabilities, you’ll lose this tracking ability.

So, you should make sure your smart access control system has reporting functionality. The right smart access control system should have a digital log of entry and exits from your building, units, and amenities. If there ever is a problem, smart access control reporting can help you track and resolve it.

What are the best smart access control systems for apartments?

Since you know what features to look for, you now need to choose the right smart access control system for your apartment. Here are the top 5 solutions:

1. BeHome247

Top features:

  • End-to-end platform
  • Hardware agnostic
  • Tenant mobile app

BeHome247 is a property and smart device management platform, complete with access control. From a single, cloud-based platform, BeHome247 automates all your day-to-day operations – like inspections, maintenance, vendor invoicing, tenant communications, and more. Plus, BeHome247 helps you manage smart devices (like thermostats). In addition to end-to-end property management, BeHome247 is also a middleware solution that works with your legacy software. So, you don’t have to get rid of your existing tech to use BeHome247.

Along with property and device management, BeHome247 also provides smart access control. As a hardware agnostic platform, you can use any access control hardware with BeHome247’s platform. So, you can choose whatever locks work best for your property and tenants, regardless of connectivity type.

In addition to serving multifamily properties, BeHome247 also provides solutions for single family, vacation rental, and hospitality properties.

2. Brivo

Top Features:

  • Cloud-based access control
  • Proprietary hardware
  • Smartphone access

Brivo is a cloud-based access management provider, with a focus on security. After acquiring Parakeet, Brivo now offers smart home automation services as well but no property management capabilities. For access control, Brivo manufactures proprietary hardware (like control panels). In addition, Brivo offers some integration with some device connectivity (like Z-Wave, WiFi, and Bluetooth). However, Brivo doesn’t work with all devices (like Zigbee devices), so you’ll need to make sure Brivo’s platform supports your hardware.

3. ButterflyMX

Top Features:

  • Video intercom
  • Tenant app
  • Audit trail

ButterflyMX is a smart access control provider for multifamily properties, known for its video intercom. In its access control solution, ButterflyMX offers features like video intercoms, package rooms, front-desk stations, and more. While ButterflyMX provides proprietary hardware, it does offer limited integration with other access control hardware. Due to its focus on access control, ButterflyMX doesn’t provide property or smart device management capabilities. If you choose ButterflyMX, you’ll need separate solutions to meet your other operational needs.

4. Homebase

Top Features:

  • Hubless smart apartment
  • Integration with companies like Walmart
  • Tenant app

Homebase is a smart home automation provider with access control capabilities. While Homebase helps you manage your smart devices and control access, it lacks the property management capabilities to be a comprehensive solution. For access control, Homebase does not manufacture its own hardware. Instead, it relies on integrations. Along with access control, Homebase offers digital payments, self-guided tours, community WiFi, maintenance management, and in-home delivery (through a partnership with Walmart).

5. Openpath

Top Features:

  • Cloud-based
  • Visitor management
  • Proprietary hardware

Openpath is an access control provider, without property or smart device management capabilities. Providing solutions for elevators, parking garages, entrances, and more, Openpath provides smart access control solutions for your entire property. In addition, Openpath manufactures its own hardware (like smart readers and hubs). Since it offers proprietary hardware, Openpath doesn’t integrate with all third-party hardware. However, Openpath is backwards compatible with some legacy software.


Smart access control is a must for modern apartments. It creates a better tenant experience, improves security, increases efficiency, and more. However, it’s important to choose the right access control solution that’s flexible, comprehensive, easy-to-use, and has reporting capabilities.

All five of the top smart access control solutions can meet some of your needs. However, BeHome247 is the only solution that provides everything you need to manage your property, smart devices, and smart access control – all in one, cloud-based platform.

Book your BeHome247 demo today to see how the best smart access control provider can help you improve your property.

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