Home Security for Renters: What You Need to Know

Written by | Updated May 18, 2017
apartment living room with couches tv books

Looking for the best home security? Check out SafeWise’s Best Security Systems for Renters Guide.

Home security systems aren’t only for single family residences—they’re for apartments too. In fact, given that renters are historically more likely than homeowners to experience burglaries,1 SafeWise strongly urges people living in apartments to get security systems. The thing is, not all home security systems are designed with renters’ needs in mind, which can make shopping for one a bit tricky.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide outlining what features to look for in an apartment security system. We’ve also recommended a range of security devices perfect for apartments and given you our top tips for choosing a safe place to live.

Features Renters Need in Apartment Security Systems

Home Security System Finder
adt equipment on white

A security system can help make your apartment safer while protecting your valuable items and irreplaceable mementos. Using our home security system finder is a quick and easy way to compare SafeWise-approved security systems. As you do, keep these key features in mind.

Wireless Equipment

As a renter, you probably aren’t allowed to drill holes in your apartment to run wires through the walls, so a wireless security system is a must. Easy installation isn’t the only advantage of a wireless security system, though.

Wireless systems are often considered more reliable than wired ones because there are no wires for a burglar to cut, thereby disabling the system. Also, unlike with a wired system, a wireless system can be packed up, taken with you, and installed in your new apartment.

Equipment Ownership

When evaluating wireless security systems, it’s important to find out whether you or the company will own the security equipment. With some security companies, you receive the security equipment free when you pay for installation and monitoring services, but you don’t own the equipment.

Oftentimes, this means you can’t transfer the equipment to a new apartment if you move. Or, you might have to pay a fee to transfer the equipment. To avoid potential problems like these, SafeWise recommends renters own their apartment security systems.

DIY Installation

It’s not uncommon that owning the security equipment also means installing the system yourself, or at least having the option to. DIY installation means avoiding installation fees and enjoying the convenience of setting up your system according to your schedule.

Thanks to modern technology, you don’t even have to be expertly handy to get the job done. In most cases, the security company provides you with step-by-step instructions, online guides, videos, and other resources. DIY installation is designed to be uncomplicated, but it’s still important to read product reviews to find out what other customers have said about their experiences.

Smaller Systems

Best Home Security Systems
vivint sky control panel

Apartments usually have small footprints, only one entry door, and just a few windows. If this sounds like your apartment, you probably don’t need an extensive security system—a basic one may suit your needs just fine.

What’s included in a basic system varies per company, so research your options carefully. With some security companies, you may even get a free basic system for signing a service agreement, and you will still own the equipment and take it with you wherever you may move.

Devices to Help Increase Apartment Security

A security system is one of the best ways to secure your apartment against a burglar. But don’t stop there. Use these products in tandem with your security system to help further increase your apartment’s security.

Door Locks

Our Pick
Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock

Kwikset Kevo

Your landlord should change the locks before you move into your apartment, but this doesn’t always happen. With your landlord’s okay, install a quality lock, whether it’s a simple swing lock or a high-tech smart lock like the Kwikset Kevo. Then, be sure to keep your apartment door shut and locked whenever it’s not in use.

Security Bars

Our Pick
defender security sliding door bar

Defender Security Security Bar

Sliding glass doors offer great outdoor views, but they’re also potential entry points for intruders—especially if you live in a ground-level apartment. That’s because many sliding doors have weak locks or ones that don’t work at all. For this reason, we suggest fortifying your sliding door with a security device, like the Prime-Line Sliding Door Security Bar.

Security Cameras

Our Pick
nest cam indoor

Nest Security Camera

Security cameras are available with most home security systems, but they can also be purchased on their own. When paired with a monitoring app, a security camera like Nest Cam can help you see what’s going on inside your apartment right from your smartphone. Our Home Security Cameras Buyers Guide is a great resource for everything you need to know about security cameras.

Tips for Choosing a Safe Apartment

It’s vitally important to take safety into consideration when searching for a new apartment. Here are a few tips for choosing a safe place to settle down.

  • Use CrimeReports or a similar online tool to research the crime statistics for the apartment complex and its surrounding neighborhood.
  • If possible, opt for an apartment complex with a gated entrance. At minimum, make sure the apartment building entrance is secured by a key, intercom, video, or other access control.
  • Visit the apartment complex during the day—and at night. This way, you can see if parking lots, walkways, and apartment entrances are well lit at all times.
  • Evaluate the general appearance of the apartment complex. Avoid those that look like they aren’t well maintained.
  • Talk to a few residents and ask them how they like living in the apartment complex.

Remember, even if your apartment doesn’t come with a security system, you can put one in place. Use this guide as a resource for choosing the right home security system for your needs, then explore the SafeWise blog for more information on apartment safety.

1. Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Victimization During Household Burglary

Written by Alexia Chianis

Wanderlust junky and mom of two, Alexia is a former police officer and U.S. Army Captain who draws on her experiences to write about a myriad of safety topics. Learn more

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