The best home security for apartments and tenants in 2022: from complete systems to DIY solutions
No one wants to feel unsafe in their own home – that’s just a fact. Whether you own the property or rent it out, there should be no difference in how safe you feel living in this space. But maybe your landlord doesn’t see the point of setting up a building security system for their tenants. Or, maybe you just want to keep a proverbial watch on your space for your own peace of mind. Whatever the reason, you deserve to have a strong sense of security and safety for yourself, your family, and your belongings.
Previously, home security systems were mainly for very wealthy people and their mansions. But the advent ofsmart home“and consumer demand for products they can install themselves have helped make home security equipment and systems much more affordable and accessible. We’ve brought together our favorite home security systems beforebut apartment dwellers and renters have different needs (namely getting your security deposit back in full).
That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the best home security systems and security gadgets to help apartment renters feel a little more comfortable in their abode without blowing holes in the walls or causing other damage to their living space.
One thing you won’t find here, however, is a recommendation for Ring products because, frankly, they have some bad vibes. But seriously, a EFF study found that they were sending personalized, identifiable data to third-party trackers, and that Ring images were (or were) stored in the easily hackable cloud that Amazon employees have access to. Not cool at all.
Why do I need home security?
Home security shouldn’t be a luxury reserved for homeowners alone. No matter what type of neighborhood you live in, a home security system can provide you with the ultimate peace of mind. This is especially true if you live alone – which, according to the United States Census Bureauaccounted for 28% of all US households in 2021.
“Home security” doesn’t always mean catching burglars or vandals in the act, or keeping an eye out for other potential intruders in your home. Apartment security systems – especially entry sensors – are also very beneficial for households with children. These sensors are fitted to windows and doors (or even cabinets) and they sound an alarm when the entry point is opened, ensuring that you always know if your little one is in trouble they don’t. shouldn’t be.
Indoor home security cameras are also a good option for keeping tabs on babies and children in nurseries and playrooms (as well as misbehaving pets). They can also notify you of accidents, such as fires and burst pipes, so authorities can be alerted before significant damage occurs. The same applies if you are caring for an elderly relative or one with a medical condition that may require emergency assistance at any time.
Besides all these important security reasons, there is also a financial advantage. Installing an apartment security system in or around your rental can also help you save on tenant insurance.
What does a tenant need in a home security system?
The best home security for apartments are tenant-friendly devices that don’t require professional modification or installation, like drilling holes in walls or connecting to existing wiring. These security cameras, motion detectors, alarm systems and other security equipment should also be easy to move to another property if needed. For these reasons, you’ll want to look for home security devices that can be stuck to surfaces with adhesive strips (rather than screwed down) without causing property damage.
Removable adhesive strips of some sort will usually be included with your security devices, but if they aren’t – or if the ones supplied aren’t the best – you should be able to easily supplement with high quality 3M Command strips from the adhesive or Velcro variety. (The those designed to hang frames(opens in a new tab) should be fine.) Regardless of brand or style, just keep in mind that you’ll want to keep removal instructions handy and follow them carefully when it’s time to remove your safety devices so you don’t not cause damage. You may even need to apply some heat from a hair dryer or heat gun to aid in the removal process.
Besides easy, damage-free installation, tenants should also look for apartment security systems that don’t require long-term contracts for professional monitoring or subscriptions. Even if you plan to live there for a while, it’s best to opt for a monthly service or choose to self-monitor your space for free.
What does a complete home security system typically include?
A complete home security system for apartments will typically include most or all of the following:
Security camera. Freestanding or easily mounted with an adhesive, these smart devices can alert you to an intruder or an emergency, or help you keep tabs on loved ones, all through an app.
Movement detector. Stuck in a hallway or the corner of a room, these can send you app notifications to alert you to movement in your home when you’re not there.
Entrance sensors. These devices consist of two pieces that sit side by side on the edge of a door or window and trigger an alarm when the entry point is opened. The “smart” ones can even notify you via an app.
Keyboard. This will allow you to arm and disarm your alarm system when you leave and return home, although some systems are controlled entirely via a smartphone app instead.
Home base. Smart home security systems will require all devices to connect to WiFi to communicate with each other and with you, usually through a smart home hub that comes in the kit.
Doorbell camera. This will allow you to greet visitors while you are away or to be notified when a package arrives at your doorstep. (Just be cool about it and don’t use it to be a creep or narc on your neighbors.)
Smart lock. Smart locking devices allow you to access your apartment via an app rather than your key, and allow you to lock and unlock the door remotely. This is ideal for those who tend to misplace their keys often or who never remember whether or not they locked the door when leaving. Some even let you unlock the door hands-free as you approach them, which is great when your arms are full of groceries or kids.
Do I need professional follow-up?
Complete home security systems also typically offer buyers the option to sign up for professional monitoring. This service employs trained officers to monitor your smart security devices 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and they will promptly alert the police, fire department and other emergency services if necessary.
Professional monitoring is usually non-negotiable for full-fledged homeowner security systems and is often tied to a lengthy contract. However, the best security systems for tenants allow monthly subscriptions to professional monitoring, with no hidden fees or contracts. Or, you can opt out completely and simply monitor the system yourself, relying on smartphone app notifications while you’re away and individual alarms when you’re home.
The choice is personal, depending on your security needs and concerns. But since it’s usually offered to renters on a monthly basis, you can always try it out and then opt out if you think it’s overkill (without incurring any sort of penalty).
What is a DIY home security system and what do I need?
Tenants live in a variety of apartment complexes and house-type dwellings, so your needs may vary greatly from what is provided in a complete home security system. Luckily, you can buy all of the same home security devices a la carte – from motion detectors and entry sensors to security cameras and smart locks – to suit your particular apartment complex needs or house rental.
For example, a tenant living in a high-rise apartment building may have only one door that opens into a hallway and a few windows that are completely inaccessible to any nefarious activity from outside. This apartment tenant might opt for a simple, self-contained home security system that includes a door sensor and perhaps a motion sensor for their entrance.
On the other hand, someone renting a space in a more suburban or even rural area may have access to a back yard and a front porch, and have plenty of windows accessible from the outside. In this case, the tenant can opt for more motion sensors or security cameras to cover more outdoor space, and more window and door sensor alarms for all the different entry points.
Just make sure that if you’re buying smart devices a la carte, you’ll probably want a smart home hub – like an Amazon Alexa-enabled Echo or the Google Nest – to connect everything and give you more streamlined control of your DIY home. security system. It would probably also be a good idea to try to buy all devices from the same brand so that everything works well together and you can control everything in the same application.