The Maison Key System and Its Uses July 16, 2015
A master key system provides one key that will open many locks. Typically an authorized user holds the master key and only they are permitted access to the lock, or locks, it opens.
A Maison key system is a type of master key system. However, it permits many users to access a single, locked area or resource. Unlike a master keying system which requires one user to possess one key to multiple locks, the Maison key system provides many keys to one lock. The overall concept of private security is sacrificed. Essentially, the Maison key system is intended more for convenience than security.
A Maison key system is a central locking system. There is no “higher-order” master locking system. This key lock system permits any one lock to be opened by any number of keys. For instance, an apartment main entrance door may be unlocked by any of the apartment residents’ keys, since all the residences are on the same apartment key system. Similarly, all residents’ keys may unlock the laundry room door lock. A Maison key system is not a master key system. A master key system only permits entry into one lock, whereas a Maison key system allows access to as many locks as desired using one key.
Maison key systems are commonly used for:
- apartment building main entrances,
- condominium complex common areas,
- rental flats, and
- older school buildings.
For example, each tenant in a multiple dwelling unit has a key to open their apartment / flat and post box. The key also opens main front door foyer entrances and common areas such as laundry rooms and basement or parking garage. Each apartment or condo key will not open another locked apartment, flat, or condo door, even though it opens other designated communal door locks.
Advantageously, landlords provide their tenants the convenience of accessing their apartments using the Maison key system when the landlord is not available. The tenant can rest assured they will never be locked out of their apartment, building, or any common area within the building.
The primary complaint of the Maison key system is its overriding lack of security. Unlike master key systems where each lock has one corresponding operating key and one common master key, a Maison key systems lock can be accessed by any key (in the system). A Maison key can unlock everything inside a particular building. For this reason Maison key systems are prohibited in some areas. The concern is, what might happen if a tenant loses their key and the unscrupulous finder accesses the building and robs the apartment of its property and the tenant of their privacy. As a result, in some areas Maison key systems are not permitted and alternative higher security key control systems are installed.
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