Accepting parcel deliveries for your residents is an extra service that most of them will appreciate. After all, if residents aren’t around to take the delivery themselves, you and your team save them a trip to the sorting office.
However, accepting packages puts some degree of responsibility on you. If anything happens to the parcel before the owner can pick it up, it’s you they’ll turn to for an answer.
When you’re doing residents a favour, it shouldn’t turn into a matter of “the receptionist damaged the gift my Great Aunt Helga sent me” or “the concierge lost my new PlayStation.”
At the end of the day, you’re just trying to help them out. Sole responsibility shouldn’t lie with you.
Taking in parcels for residents is already a necessity. Online shopping is growing at a rapid rate. To keep providing a useful service without being the one to take responsibility, you need to do everything you can to limit parcel liability.
Make Sure You Have a Clause in the Lease
Most sellers claim that responsibility for deliveries stays with them until a package is signed for by the receiver or someone designated to accept parcels on their behalf. If a package arrives damaged and you or your staff sign for it, you’ll have a hard time convincing the seller that they’re still responsible.
But that doesn’t mean responsibility should be shifted on to you or your team if you accept parcels on a resident’s behalf.
The number one way to avoid parcel liability is to have a clause written into the lease or Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement. This clause should state that your company nor any individual member of staff will be held responsible for any items that go missing or end up damaged before reaching the owner.
Without a clause, you’ll have a hard time challenging any disputes. Imagine a resident comes to you with a complaint over a missing Rolex or family heirloom that was being delivered. How much responsibility should you take? Is your company protected in this example?
If not, contact Parcel Safeplace. We can provide an example lease clause / amendment from our solicitor. A lease clause will greatly reduce parcel liability by outlining the amount of financial responsibility you take for any items that are lost or damaged.
For student properties following ANUK (Accreditation Network UK), their guidelines state that “Where no liability for parcels received is accepted by the organisation this should be made clear to tenants at the time of taking up their tenancies.”
Put simply, you need a clause to limit your liability. Without one, you’re fully liable. Make sure it’s clear what is and isn’t your responsibility, and put it in writing for the resident.
In the National Code of Standard for Larger Developments, it states organisations should make provisions “to allow for the temporary storage of a reasonable number of reasonably sized parcels for collection by tenants.”
This means you don’t have to take in anything that’s oversized and that can’t be stored safely on site. In one extreme case, we’ve seen a piano delivered to reception. Residents might be annoyed if their delivery is sent back, but you’re not obligated to take in packages (especially if they’re as big as pianos).
If you continually refuse packages to avoid parcel liability or due to lack of space, though, you risk losing residents when their lease comes to an end.
You can cut out the middle person completely with a parcel room. Instead of taking packages to the reception desk, the courier leaves deliveries in a dedicated room that requires a code to access. And if the receptionist or the concierge hasn’t handled the package in any way, they can’t be held responsible if anything arrives damaged.
Keep a Record
An item could come to you in perfect condition, but if it goes missing before the receiver can pick it up, there’s very little you can do. This is why it’s so important to keep a record of every delivery that you or your team accepts.
Traditional record-keeping is a timely process, but it reduces liability. When taking in an item, you should log down:
Who the item is for
What apartment number they live at
When the delivery courier arrived
The courier service used
Which staff member signed for the package
Where the parcel is being stored until it can be picked up
If you can show that you took every precaution to care for the package while it was under your responsibility, it reduces personal liability. Your team will still be responsible for finding out where the parcel has gone, but at least the staff member who signed for it won’t shoulder all the blame.
Misplacement and theft are two of the more common reasons why a parcel goes missing. Neither scenario matters to the resident; all they know is their item is gone and they want it back.
To stop packages from going unaccounted for and without it affecting the day-to-day duties of your staff, consider how a parcel room offers a much-needed extra layer of security.
State-of-the-art parcel rooms can only be accessed by couriers, staff or residents if they have a one-time-use code. This keeps packages safe, as no one can get into the room without authorisation.
Parcel rooms also come with a full electronic parcel log. This provides pictures of the package delivery, signatures and a photo of the person picking up the item.
Package room providers should install CCTV cameras as an added precaution. Not only do they act as a deterrent, they’re extremely useful if you need to identify someone who has moved a parcel..
Items are also less likely to be misplaced if they are all kept together. Currently, staff who don’t have a designated spot for parcels generally store them wherever they find space. This leads to items being lost, especially when the person who checked the item in isn’t around when the tenant comes to pick up their package.
All deliveries should be made to one safe place to ensure nothing goes missing due to a slip of the mind.
The Complete Solution to Avoiding Parcel Liability
Staff in residential buildings are taking on too much parcel liability for two reasons:
Their lease agreements don’t come with a clause for lost or damaged deliveries
Their package management and storage systems aren’t set up to limit liability
Responsibility for packages shouldn’t rest with you or your team. Parcel SafePlace specialises in finding ways to keep parcel liability to a minimum while still providing your residents with a high quality delivery collection service.
Make sure your staff no longer become liable for parcels. Get in touch with us for more information on installing a more secure package management and storage system in your residential building.