Controlled access at an apartment allows only certain people — usually residents — to enter the building. This may be done through keys, key cards, access codes and building staff.
Controlled access is sometimes confused with gated access. Controlled access regulates who gets into the actual building, or even a wing of the building. Gated access only requires people to be let in through a gate and once they've entered the premises, they can access almost anything within.
The purpose of controlled access is to keep unwanted visitors out of an apartment building. This generally provides a safer, quieter, more private living environment as you need to either be a tenant or know someone living in the building to get in. It makes it more difficult for a random person to walk in off the street and wander the halls of your building.
It isn't cheap to maintain a security system, whether it be by key card, access code or building staff, so a controlled-access apartment can cost more. There are often strict rules for having visitors check in, sometimes including special visiting hours, and it can become a hassle for both you and your guests in some situations.
Before choosing a controlled-access apartment, you may want to consider how safe your neighborhood is. In some cases, controlled access is simply a want and in other cases, it may be more of a necessity. In any case, controlled access provides an extra measure of security and can give you more peace of mind.