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Individuals can't buy a Latch smart lock, but businesses, property managers can

Why it matters to you

Latch could provide an alternative for apartment dwellers who can't install smart locks due to lease restrictions.

In a sea of smart locks, Latch stood out from the crowd because it targeted real estate developers rather than the average consumer when it first debuted a year ago. That’s still the case, but the company said Thursday it was now shipping its lock to any interested enterprise customer for $399 per lock, including two years of service.

Latch’s business strategy focuses on luring in landlords to adopt their locks. Since most lease agreements prohibit the changing of locks, it’s a way for these landlords to offer smart home functionality that is becoming increasingly popular. At the same time, the landlord does not lose access to the apartment should they need it.

The locks operate like you’d expect any other smart lock to, including access options via smartphones, smartcards, special door codes, or optional keys. The key difference here is that the landlord can control the access to the apartment, as well as monitor activity through an onboard wide-angle camera and digital log.

More: The 6 best smart locks of 2016

Latch’s locks are already installed across New York City apartment buildings managed by real estate company Corigin, as well as the Grand at Sky View Parc in Flushing, Queens.

“Latch offers is more than a key and software system,” Corigin CEO Ryan Freedman said in a statement. “They offer technological ease, digital access and building security to consumers.” Freedman called the wider scale rollout of the smart lock good news, and “part of a new trend in buildings.”

As for those of you waiting for Latch to become available to anyone, the company still tells us that there are no immediate plans for retail availability. A company representative directed us to Latch’s website, where interested customers can sign up to be notified if and when availability expands.