In the past, security alarm systems were primarily just available to commercial establishments and homeowners. Renters, unfortunately, often just overlook security because they feel the onus lies on the landlord. Burglars, on the other hand, don’t care if you’re renting or not. They look at your home and notice things you won’t.
Once you start to explore your options for a basic home security system, however, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Just remember that any layer of home security system is better than not having anything at all.
Any Security is Better Than No Security
While it’s true that renters may not need to pay for major appliances or door repairs, a lack of insurance makes many tenants more vulnerable to burglary-related expenses.
Compared to separate houses, thieves are almost twice as likely to target apartments. A landlord’s insurance will probably cover the damage, but it won’t replace a tenant’s belongings. Even if you have renter’s insurance, a substantial deductible will apply. If you’re a renter, consider some of the following:
Wireless home security systems
Equipment selection is key. Many modern home security systems use wireless technology when they communicate with different components and/or monitoring centers. This benefits renters because the equipment is easy to install and remove without causing damage. You won’t have to worry about losing the security deposit on an apartment or house.
One of the major benefits of renting a home is that you can move without waiting for a house to sell. To protect your investment, make sure your home security system doesn’t create any physical or legal barriers to relocation.
If you decide to purchase an alarm system, look for a model that is entirely wireless. Many of these units can be installed with adhesives, so there’s no need for a drill. The equipment should have wireless sensors and monitoring, and you easily remove and take your equipment with you when you leave.
Binding contracts can limit you
If you choose to pay for alarm monitoring and/or other services, ensure that the provider lets you send payments on a monthly basis. A long-term contract could make it difficult to move to an area the security company doesn’t serve.
Cover all your entrances
Thieves normally enter homes through doors or windows, so it’s important to install sensors on them. Burglars may use fire escapes or ladders to reach entrances too, so check and secure all your possible entrances.
Place additional motion sensors
Most renters need three or more window/door sensors, especially if they have direct access to the outdoors.
One or more motion detectors can provide additional protection, but it’s especially important to avoid false alarms in a multi-unit building. False alarms can be very annoying for neighbors and people might complain to the landlord and the local police.
If you decide to install motion detectors, be sure to choose a reliable technology such as ultrasonic or active infrared. Consider purchasing dual-sensor products that combine two motion detection technologies in each unit. They cost more but greatly reduce false alarms while drastically improving your home security.
Get a panic button
Imagine trying to escape an intruder when you’re in an apartment or condominium unit, especially if it’s on the second story or a higher floor. A panic button makes it easy to instantly request help if someone tries to break in or you have a medical emergency. For most renters, especially those living on their own, this should be a no-brainer.
Home security cameras may deter criminals from invading your rental home, but you’ll need to avoid units that require extensive wiring. This equipment also helps police find offenders and recover belongings. Wireless monitoring and remote access make these type of cameras even more useful.
Before installing any outdoor surveillance equipment, remember to ask your landlord for permission. Consider using a dome-style camera. These units are designed to have an inconspicuous look, so building owners are less likely to object to their appearance.
You can also add all types of camera monitoring devices inside your home, some very obvious, and others totally hidden – the options are almost endless.
The Best Home Security for Renters
Essentially, the best home security systems for renters feature technology that makes them easy to set up or remove, reduces false alarms, and minimizes their effect on a building’s appearance. They don’t require long-term contracts or the permanent installation of any components.