If a client asks, or if you are ever in doubt as to whether or not the key to their home are secure in a Real Estate Board Lockbox you can now rest assured that it is. Believe me, Gary and I had a malfunctioning box on a condo and I contacted NSAR to replace it. As they were unable to release the shackle, they cut it off and returned the box to the office with the keys still inside. There they did everything possible at their location to retrieve the keys for me.
When all else failed, NSAR contacted me, and let me know that they had removed the offending lock box and had a replacement for me, but that they had been unable to retrieve the keys. As our clients were in northern Alberta, I had a real problem. As I sell a lot of new construction, I contacted my builder to see if they could be of assistance, since they have all the tools.
After cutting off the plastic skin they proceeded to pound away at the box from all different ends, and finally with the use of a very large hammer and chisel, we were able to break away just enough of the bottom of the box to extract the keys using a set of long needle nose pliers. Thank you Ming (Green Leaf Construction Ltd.) I certainly could not have done this myself.
When I returned the broken box to the office, Nancy at NSAR told me that thieves had once cut off a box, but that it was retrieved much later, beat up but with the keys still tucked safely inside.
Additionally, everytime the lockbox is opened by a legitimate operator a electronic signature is stored and can be retrieved at a later date. This means if you felt that your home had been entered without your knowledge the lockbox could be interrogated and the truth uncovered. Added to that the times that the lockbox can be opened can be adjust by the owner, generally the times are set at 9am - 9pm, meaning outside that times the box will not open.
The electronic lockboxes really are excellent and provide both owners and Realtors(R) with piece of mind.