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  • Writer's pictureAndy Murphy

Home Security for Apartments Made Easy

Updated: Sep 28, 2023


Home security for apartments

How to Secure Your Home as a Renter


Disclaimer: There are NO security system affiliate links in this article! My opinion on the security systems discussed here is not influenced by money. There are affiliate links to wireless cameras and other products that I think are great. But too many home security articles are influenced by commission rates – this one is not.


Just because you are renting your living space does not mean you have to feel unsafe in your home. Many people who live in apartments, duplexes, and rental homes feel like they cannot make secure upgrades to their homes because of a rental agreement. Some agreements may be very restrictive but that should not prevent you from being safe in your home.

As a renter, you have the right to protect yourself, your family, and your personal property.

This article will show you what you can do as a renter to upgrade your security. Some changes can even be done without spending any money. Plus, we’ll look at three different home security systems that are great for renters.


When preparing to upgrade your home security for your rental space, make sure you are aware of your contract and what is and is not allowed. It is up to you as the renter to make sure you are not violating your agreement. Also, it never hurts to ask what is acceptable and it’s sometimes better to ask for forgiveness rather than permission. So… it’s a balance. You make the call.


Best Home Security Systems for Renters


Over the years, home security systems have gotten easier to install. No longer do you need to drill holes in walls and run wires through the attic. Today’s alarm systems are very DIY-friendly. If you can use double-sided tape and add a device to your Wi-Fi, then you are qualified to install a great home security system.


When looking for a new home security for your apartment, there are a few details you need to keep in mind. First is your budget. Don’t overbuy a fancy system if your bottom line won’t cover it. Also, don’t lock yourself into a contract over an apartment you may leave soon. There are lots of great systems that don’t have a contract.


You also need to consider your monthly monitoring fee. That’s right, if you are going to get an alarm system for your space, then you need to put up the money for monitoring. Don’t just buy the hardware, you need the company backing you up and watching out for your home when you are not there.


Next, consider how many people are going to be using the system. If you have roommates, not all of them may want a security system. So, make sure everyone in your place is on board with having one and will chip in to pay the costs.


The Top 3 Home Security Systems for Apartments


If you skipped down to this point, then I don’t blame you. You are looking for guidance on the best alarm system for your place. The top three I think you need to consider are Ring Alarm, Wayze Home Monitoring, and SimpliSafe.


Top Home Security System Choice: Ring Alarm

Ring Alarm for Apartment Home Security
Ring Alarm System

I like Ring Alarm because of their ease of use. Their system is very easy to install mainly because of how easy their smartphone app is to use as guidance for the installation. Ring Alarm has a great reputation for customer service and reliability. And Ring Alarm works seamlessly with their fantastic line of cameras. You can have your alarm and home surveillance system all in one easy-to-use app. Chances are you know someone who has a Ring Alarm or at least a Ring Doorbell Camera.


Note: If you subscribe to Ring Protect Pro then your base station will have cellular backup to protect your home in the event of an internet outage. If you don’t have this tier subscription, then that option is not available.


At a glance: Ring Alarm


Contract Required: No

Smartphone App: Yes

Voice Assistant: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Home Kit

Professional Monitoring: Yes, for an extra fee

Best for a multi-unit building


Budget Friendly Home Security System: Wyze Home Monitoring

WYZE Alarm System for Apartements and Renters
WYZE Alarm System

Over the last 5 years, Wyze has made great strides in market share of the home security/home surveillance market. There are many cameras and sensors to choose from that will fit most apartments. They have a reliable reputation for functioning but may not be as user-friendly as other systems. Wyze is very budget-friendly and can be purchased on Amazon.


Note: Wyze does not offer cellular backup at all. But they do offer this Wyze RC car with a camera on it.


At a glance: Wyze Alarm


Contract Required: No

Smartphone App: Yes

Voice Assistant: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Home Kit

Professional Monitoring: Yes, for an extra fee

Best for a budget


Home Security System for Houses: SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe home security for renters
SimpliSafe Home Security Base Station

SimpliSafe may be the most well-known DIY home security system in the country. Known for solid equipment, outstanding customer service, and well-priced options SimpliSafe is a great investment for your rental. While SimpliSafe will cost you more upfront, their monitoring fee is less than Ring Alarm and many other competitors at only $18 a month.


Note: SimpliSafe does offer cellular backup.


At a glance: SimpliSafe


Contract Required: No

Smartphone App: Yes

Voice Assistant: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Home Kit

Professional Monitoring: Yes, for an extra fee

Best for single-family rental homes


The bottom line is that Ring Alarm, Wyze Home Monitoring, and SimpliSafe are all great. You can’t go wrong with any of these. Your best bet may be to pick the one you like best or that fits your budget. All three of these systems are great for renters.


Don’t stop reading here, as we go I’m going to share with you about wireless security cameras, Wi-Fi security, and ways to fortify your home.


Security Cameras for Apartments


The landscape for home security cameras for renters is very robust. There are tons of great options for your home and budget. The only issue that cameras in apartment buildings have to be wary of is privacy.


Because apartments are home to many people with common areas, you need to put a lot of thought into where you place your cameras. Depending on where you live the law, or your landlord, may not allow cameras in common areas like walkways because of privacy violations.


It seems that the Ring Doorbell is the most popular home security camera today. They work well, are easy to set up, and are easy to use. Offering HD video quality with motion-activated recording and two-way communication, the Ring Doorbell is great for apartments. It was a doorbell camera like this that caught a brazen home invasion attempt in Dallas.

If you can’t add a doorbell camera to the front door, then you may be interested in a unique solution: a lightbulb camera. These are compact HD cameras that are made to screw into an existing light socket. These can pan, tilt, motion track, record motion, and alert your phone all from the obscurity of a light fixture. You can read more about them here.


If an outdoor camera is not allowed in your agreement, then you’ll want to cover your interior entry points. This can be done with Ring and Blink cameras. These wireless cameras come with either power cables or are completely battery-operated. They will alert your phone to motion and new clips via your Wi-Fi.

Ring Indoor Camera home security for renters
Ring Indoor Camera

If these are not good options for you, then you can make a home security camera yourself with items you may have lying around your home. Discover how to use an old smartphone, laptop camera, or an ESP32-Cam to monitor your home. It is not as hard as it sounds. Plus, with a tripod or placed on a shelf, cameras do not have to be mounted anywhere. You can read about how I created my own DIY home security camera here.


Your Wi-Fi and Home Security System


All the secure technology that we’ve discussed so far runs on one thing, Wi-Fi. You need to make sure that your wireless signal is strong, fast, and reliable. Otherwise, this home security technology will not function correctly. Of course, there is more to home security than technology, but if you want the convenience of a wireless home security system and wireless cameras, then you’ll need a dependable Wi-Fi network.


If you are on a community or shared Wi-Fi, then you need to move off that network. Get your own internet plan, routers, and networks. This is important because you need all of the bandwidth you can get for your personal use and the system. Don’t let anyone else have access to your home security systems because they are on the same wireless network. In essence, this would be like giving a key (and a hidden camera) to your neighbors.

Wi-fi router for home security systems for renters

When you sign up for internet through your local internet provider, make sure you know the speeds they offer to your apartment. There are upload and download speeds. Download speeds are for getting content from the web to your device, like streaming on Netflix. Your download speed can vary, but the more important one is the upload speed.


Upload speed is when your devices are pushing data to the internet. This means your surveillance footage, home security monitoring, and data being sent to the cloud for you to view on your phone.


You need to have a download speed minimum of 5 Mbps. For reasons, only cable companies know that upload and download speeds don’t match. There is usually much less upload speed. If you would like to assess your internet connection, go to SpeedTest.net to test the upload and download speeds.


Once you have a reliable connection, buy a wireless router that offers at least two different networks on one device. To start your research on a great Wi-Fi router, consider this Netgear R6700AXS.


Most routers will have a 2.4 Ghz and a 5 Ghz option along with a guest network. I suggest you put all of your security devices on the guest network and secure it with a strong password. Then don’t share the guest network with anyone.


If you don’t know how to create a strong passphrase, iPhone users can have one generated for them as part of the system. These will be long (very long) codes that will be stored on your phone on your keychain.


If you would rather, you can use a free password generator from LastPass. This password generator tool can create passwords from 1 to 50 characters using a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. I suggest that your password be a minimum of 12 characters. Once you have one you like, then copy and paste it into your account. LastPass won’t know who or what the generated password is used for, so it is private.


When creating your own Wi-Fi networks, choose unique network names and very strong passphrases to secure your systems. Do not use network names that give away information about yourself or what unit you live in. Avoid using your first or last name and house number in the network name.


Home Security Fortifications


Not all apartment security is digital. In fact, some of the most important elements of home security are analog. Thieves will physically assault your space in order to steal your stuff, so you need to meet them where they are.


The most vulnerable point of attack on any home is the front door. As odd as it sounds FBI statistics say the front door is the number one way thieves enter homes for burglaries. If you think about it, coming and going is what doors are for. Plus, bad guys don’t want to spend much energy getting into your place, so the front door is the most logical option.

Rental home front door home security

Most exterior doors can be kicked open after only a few attempts. I’m sure you’ve seen footage of masked men kicking in doors on social media. The best way to thwart an attack like this is to fortify your door.


The old-school night and slide locks are not going to help you in a kick-in-style attack. Those devices use short screws that will fly out of the wood when met with enough force. What most people don’t realize is that when a door is kicked in, the door and lockset don’t give way. Instead, it’s the door frame that is splintered open.


You can upgrade the door hardware that is already on your door. Simply replace the short screws on your door frame’s strike plate with 2-inch screws to help anchor it to the frame. Most likely, your landlord won’t notice or care about that change as long as you do it correctly.


Secure Your Front Door with Flip Lok


Another way to fortify your door is with a secondary lock like the Flip Lok. The Flip Lok is a secondary lock for your door frame that adds extra protection. It can withstand up to 1,315 pounds of pressure to resist most door strikes. Do not buy an imitation, the Flip Lok’s design is resistant to picking and is made from durable materials. You can watch my review of one here.


It only requires four long screws in the door frame and can be removed easily if you move. Just fill in the four screw holes with wood filler, and you should be good to go.

A final note about your front door. Find out if management changes the locks when the old tenant moves out. Chances are they don’t which means there could be copies of keys of your place floating around in your community.


Maybe the old tenant comes back or someone who has a key comes to visit and they don’t know they moved out. If possible, ask for the locks to be changed even if there is a fee involved.


Securing A Sliding Glass Door


If your rental space has a sliding glass door, then you are going to want to secure it, too. The easiest thing to do is get an inch-thick dowel rod from a home improvement store and place it on the track of the door. This will prevent the door from opening all the way from the outside.


If you want to take it up a notch you can get an adjustable door jammer that will lay in the track. This Guard Dog Security Jammer 2-in-1 has an alarm as well. While this does cost more than a dowel rod, it’s adjustable and offers a metal construction. These can also be used on interior doors for an extra layer of safety.


Home Security Tip: Lighting


A simple, often overlooked, aspect of home security is lighting. The more appropriate lighting you have outside your space, the more unappealing it becomes to a burglar. Bad guys love darkness because they can’t be seen. The more light is introduced to your apartment, the better. This will mean that burglars are most likely to pass you by.


Start by requesting that management fix all of the nonfunctioning facility lighting. That means hallways, elevators, and porch lights. Then work with the local power company to make sure the street and parking lot lights are working correctly.


While you may not have but one fixture close to your door, make sure you have replacement bulbs on hand to fix it if it burns out or gets broken – don’t wait on management.

Also, interior lighting will help deter burglars. Making your home look occupied while you are away will make bad guys think twice about trying to strike your home. Consider using smart plugs to schedule lamps turning on and off around your apartment. This Feit Electric Smart Plug is a great budget-friendly option and can be controlled on your smartphone.


As another option, you can get a pack of smart bulbs to install in your existing fixtures. Not only can you control when the lights come on, you can also choose the color they produce which is a great bonus. These Amazon Basics smart bulbs will also work with Alexa if you have an echo in your home.


For more ways to defend your home, consider reading up on home security. My best-selling book, Home Security: The Secure Dad’s Guide is available on Amazon. You’ll learn my layered home defense strategy: discipline, deter, fortify, and defend. The lessons learned in this book will be applicable everywhere you live.


Watch Home Security For Renters

Community Awareness for Safety


Don’t approach your home security alone. Begin to cultivate relationships with your neighbors so you can get a feel for who lives around you. You don’t have to become best friends with everyone in your community, but at least be on a first-name basis with everyone. This will help you know who is and who is not supposed to be in your area.


Also, a feeling of belonging and community will foster a more positive attitude where everyone will want to look out for their neighbors. By having more people like and trust you, they’ll be more likely to help look out for your apartment and your belongings.


Calling 911 for Apartment Residents


Depending on where you live, calling 911 is not as easy as it looks on TV. This can be especially hard if you live in a large apartment complex with dozens of buildings and hundreds of addresses. Here are some tips to get first responders to you faster.


1) Know The Address – It sounds simple, but be able to say the street, building name, apartment number, floor, and nearest intersection to the emergency.


2) Entry Code – First responders should have an entry code for gated communities. But to speed up response time, tell the 911 operator your code to get in just to be on the safe side.


3) Give Good Directions – It’s not enough just to tell the operator where you are, in large complexes even the most experienced responders can get turned around. Be sure to give them turn-by-turn directions to where you are.


4) Signal Responders – If you are able, have someone stand in the parking lot or road to signal the ambulance or fire truck. This way they know they are in the right place. This may not be possible with a police response if the situation is too dangerous.


5) Response Time – Believe it or not, 911 isn’t magic. Just because you can talk to a 911 operator does not mean that help will materialize in front of you. You will still have to deal with your situation until help arrives.


6) Call From A Safe Location – No matter what the issue is, a fire, medical emergency, or home invasion, get to safety first. Then call for help.


Renter’s Insurance


In the event that your property is damaged or stolen, you’ll want to have renter’s insurance. Generally, a renter’s insurance policy covers fire, water damage, storm damage, power surges, vandalism, and theft. I have personally had and used renter’s insurance and think it does need to be in your monthly budget. To learn more, this article from Progressive explains a lot.


Final Thoughts On Home Security For Renters


Just as we began, you have the right to protect yourself, your family, and your property. Don’t be intimated by a rental agreement. There are many ways you can protect your loved ones in a rental property. Pick the ones that work for you and build from there. The most important thing you can do is get started!



Home Security for Renters Pinterest Pin

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Andy Murphy

Andy Murphy founded The Secure Dad in 2016 with the aspiration to help families live safer, happier lives. What started as a personal blog about family safety has turned into an award-winning podcast, an Amazon best-selling book, and online courses. He focuses his efforts in the areas of home security, situational awareness, and online safety.

 

Andy is a husband and father. His interests include coaching youth basketball, hiking, and trying to figure out his 3D printer.

 

TheSecureDad.com

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