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Comment on new owner take-over of fire alarm / Guard Service
December 23, 2021
Comment on new owner take-over of fire alarm from December 3, 2021
            The practicality issue is that you rarely get the new owner to execute an assignment on the spot, so do you continue service in the interim (when you know in all probability you will get an assignment) or do  you suspend in the interim?  The latter approach might very well alienate new owner and end up with a lost account.  Complicating that are the cases where the account is paid up in advance (typical with fire) and/or when the building is bought the new owner usually assumes the original owner’s alarm contract in their sale agreement. 
            Again, on a strictly legal advice basis you are correct, but following that strictly may jeopardize the bottom line.
Bob Kleinman, Esq
            This is a far more serious, complicated and prevalent issue than first appears.  Obviously when your fire alarm customer sells the building and no one has told you to terminate your fire alarm monitoring you have the choice of continuing service or terminating that service.  Also, though not as obvious, you probably want to retain the account.  Even if you have an unexpired contract and you can pursue collection an active paying account is your preference. 
            Whether you will "get an assignment" is also not something that happens "in all probability".  If you have leased the fire alarm system there is a better chance of retaining the account with either an assignment and assumption or a new contract, but if you don't own the system the new owner can and probably will price you out. 
            Careful with the assignment.  If the new owner's contract to buy the building required an assumption of the fire alarm contract that isn't going to be enough to hold the new owner to your contract, especially if the new owner never evinces an intention to assume the fire alarm contract.  And, keep in mind that the alarm contract prohibits assignment without your consent, which in the scenario under discussion was never requested.  If the new owner refuses the assume the old owner's fire alarm contract that only puts the new owner in breach of the purchase contract with the old owner; the owner still has no contractual obligation to you.
            Bob is right that aggressively pressing the new owner to sign a new contract, or an assumption of the old contract, may end up with losing the account.  That may affect your "bottom line".  But a fire loss when you don't have a contract in place could affect your bottom line a lot more, and it's not worth it; no single account is.
            Once you know that your customer has sold and turned over the alarmed property to another I suggest you act quickly and decisively to get a new Fire All in One signed.  Delay in pressing the issue because you're a nice guy is definitely not the right move.  Delay to preserve the account is likely a 50/50 proposition, and those odds of retaining the account diminish each day that passes.  Collecting on the old contract also becomes more unlikely as days pass.
Guard Service
            Some of our municipalities do not provide First Responder respond and in other cities we exclusively dispatch guard service in lieu of the police as the police charge an exorbitant amount to respond.  How should we proceed with the Call Form which is provided with the Commercial All in One?  I don't want more liability by using this form.  I'm thinking of adding guard services as an option under Public Responder.  If its fine the way it is I will just run with what I have.  We use guard service primarily as responders with 75% of our clients.
Name withheld
            In every monitoring situation I am aware of the central station tries to call the sub or sub's call list either before or after first responders are called.  The call list simply lists the order of the calls.  If you are in a place where first responders are not called, then just say so in the call list and indicate who will be called, such as a guard service.
            On further reflection I suppose a subscriber might want a private guard service to respond, exclusively; no police.  Maybe police won't respond or charge for responding, a scenario suggested by Lee Jones. 
            Guard service is one of the services itemized in the Commercial All in One [also in the Residential All in One].  You will check the box for guard service and provide the charge for that service. So no change to the All in One is necessary.  On the Call List your central station will be instructed to contact the guard service first, then the subscriber or the subscriber's list.  First Responders may make their way onto the list, but not as the first call, or maybe not at all.  The guard service calling the police after they have arrived is not the same as the central station calling. 
            I'd like to know where in the US police would charge for responding to a call dispatched from a central station or when called by a subscriber or guard service who is on scene and confirmed an intrusion.

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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