Renters make up a larger and larger portion of American residents by the year. Young and mobile Millenials in particular tend to be devoted apartment-hoppers, and even older workers often find that convenience of a rental outstrips the benefits of owning a house.
But while rental properties may be gentler on the wallet and generally less stressful to maintain, they can be difficult to keep secure. Renters face a particular set of challenges when trying to choose a practical home security option. So, if you find yourself renting and curious, try to keep these points in mind.
What Are Your Security Needs?
The first question to ask, and sometimes a surprisingly tough one. First off, we’d like to drive this point home: apartments are not immune to burglary. Quite the opposite in fact; apartments with a single resident tend to make much more appealing targets, as it’s easier to predict when they’ll be empty.
Upon moving in, do your best to determine how much you actually need in terms of beefed up security. High-rise complexes often alarm services locking exterior doors or gates, security cameras, and occasionally on-premise guards and backup from your local ADT or other security vendors. Other properties won’t be so well secured, and you may even find yourself asking a landlord to replace worn out locks, peepholes, or outdoor lighting
Also, do yourself a favor and get to know your neighbors. They can give some valuable insight on crime in the area. Besides, having friends living near you is a wonderful way to make sure that there’s always an eye on your property.
Determine What You Can and Can’t Do
Once you’ve got a basic idea of the security system you’d like to have, it’s time to find out if you’re actually permitted to install it. Renters’ agreements vary wildly from landlord to landlord. Some won’t even allow lock changes without permission, while others are perfectly happy to let you set up your own cameras.
Whatever the case may be, make sure that you have an understanding before starting any installations. Landlords are also important resources for any security-conscious renter. While they may have some incentive to tone down any reputation a neighborhood might have for crime, a conscientious landlord can still support any efforts to improve your rental.
Start With the Basics
But before you start researching camera systems, think about basic security. Locks are obviously the most important place to start. Older properties in particular may have outdated deadbolts that need replacing. Many renters also make the mistake of ignoring window locks, which can make for an incredibly easy entrance to a creative intruder.
Lighting, both indoor and outdoor, is also crucial. Shadows make it much easier for burglars to approach and either enter or case a building. Outdoor floodlights can help eliminate the risk. Motion-sensor models are currently both cheap and effective. Indoor lighting is also surprisingly important. Picking up a light timer can create the illusion of someone being home even while you’re traveling.
Don’t Get Complacent
One of the roughest elements of rental security is that, no matter how slick your system is, you’ll likely wind up abandoning it in your next move. Tragic, but don’t allow yourself to cut corners on your next property. After all, if you’ve worked on one rental, you’ve already learned what you need to know to set up another. Keep those lessons and apply them; it’s the best way to stay consistently secure.