KEN KIRSCHENBAUM, ESQ
ALARM - SECURITY INDUSTRY LEGAL EMAIL NEWSLETTER / THE ALARM EXCHANGE
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how to handle owner and tenant / comment on protect v detect
June 25, 2019
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how to handle owner and tenant
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Ken,
    We have a customer that has a rental and our customer pays for the alarm, the tenant does not. Is there anything I should have our customer put in their contract with the tenant regarding the alarm system? People come and go and sometimes we don’t even know about it.
Christine Schwartz
California Safety Company, Inc
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Response
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    You have to have your customer under contract. Even though the contract states that there are no third party beneficiaries to the contract you have to be careful in many different type of situations because sometimes there are obviously third party beneficiaries. 
    You don't indicate whether this is a commercial or residential customer, and you don't indicate what type of alarm is involved. Let's look at a few scenarios.
    You protect a fire alarm to a building; Or outdoor cameras. The building owner is your customer and you have it sign the Commercial All in One. If a residence you have a Residential All in One signed. The building is rented and a tenant moves in. The tenant is not arming and disarming the fire alarm or the cameras. In this situation the tenant doesn't have to sign a contract directly with you. You don't have to be concerned what provisions are in the lease for the premises because you're not a party to that lease.
    But what if you install a burglar alarm in a premises, commercial or residential. The owner signed the contract. A tenant moves in. The tenant wants to give you a call list and you ask the tenant for a password in case the central station has to verify an alarm. The tenant is not getting direct service from you. You will have difficulty hiding behind the "no third party" beneficiary clause. The tenant should sign your contract.
    We see this all the time in apartment buildings, health care facilities, assisted living. If the end user is really the occupant then that's who has to sign the contract. If someone else is paying your bills then that entity has to sign a contract too.
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comment on protect v detect from June 10, 2019 article
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Ken, 
    On the use of the word "protected" versus using "secured" or another similar type word how does this apply to a government agency's use of the word protected on their letterhead, website or on their vehicles? I have seen the words "To Protect and To Serve" on the side of Police cars. There is a Fire Department in Cincinnati that has a statement they have used for many years that says, "Protecting your tomorrows today." 
‚Äč    Although a municipal governments liability is limited in certain instances; Would they be treated any differently in a claim for damages due to their use of the word "Protected" as they have advertised to the public? As I look back over the history of the use of the word protected on decals and yard signs in the security industry, its kinda odd that not much has been said about it before. Is it a reasonable expectation for anyone to believe that because a decal on a window or a yard sign in a yard that has the word "protected" on it, that this alone was an absolute guarantee no harm would ever happen to them? Is this really a legal issue or an attempt at political correctness? 
Ron Baumann 
Cincinnati, Ohio 
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Response
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    This is much more than political correctness; something no one has every accused me of.  Municipalities enjoy immunity; you don't.
    This is a matter of perception, specifically the customer's perception. It's not just on the decal. it's on the website, the promotional material, advertising and the sales pitch.     Everything is designed to make the customer feel safer. In fact, it's unsafe not to have the alarm services. Without alarms you risk burglary, fire, water damage, no one around when you need help of any kind. When you think about it, what is really left for the subscriber to steer at after a loss? Can you image coming home and seeing clear evidence of a break-in through a window and all that's left is the decal that says "Protected by ..." That's got to sting. Same for a fire and all that's left is the yard sign. 
    You don't want to make wild or outlandish representations in your contract [in fact just the opposite] and you should avoid making them in your promotional materials.
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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301
ken@kirschenbaumesq.com
www.KirschenbaumEsq.com