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Ask Casa: A Home Security System For My Rental? (Part 1)

Arielb38 wrote to me asking,

I am about to move into a new rental in a new neighborhood, very different from where I have been living for the last 15 months. I was wondering if you are aware of any places that do a comprehensive review of home security systems. My roommate wants one, and I've never had one and don't really think that it's necessary. Looking at some of the consumer complaints about both ADT and Brinks makes me cringe, and I would rather not be stuck in an expensive, manipulative contract. I know it's not really your thing, but if you have any tips, or feel inclined to pose the question to your readers, I would be grateful.

To offer some advice for Arielb38, and to hear my response, just

Even though I've lived in some really rough neighborhoods in the past, I've had the good fortune to never have had my home broken into (though I have been held up at gunpoint). Two of my rental homes had functioning security systems (which the landlords paid for). Our house currently has no security system besides our dog. I also know of families who don't have security systems installed, but have placed signs in their windows advertising that they have an alarm. This may work, to a degree: The Greenwich Study of Residential Security found that homes without alarms were 2.7 to 3.5 times more likely to be burglarized, and that the most effective deterrent was the alarm monitoring company’s yard sign. For more tips on home security systems, go here.

My first word of advice is to find out the crime statistics in your new neighborhood. You can easily access this information through your city's police department website. After that, if you still think you need a security system, talk to your landlord about having him or her install a system and possibly increasing your rent slightly to offset the cost. Your landlord can reset the code for new tenants after you move out.

To see more tips, tune in later today for the rest of my home security advice.

Join The Conversation
megafie megafie 9 years
I also have a dog who is my security system. I live in a city that has A LOT of crime. I had several break in attempts before I got her. I also have renter's insurance in case of a break-in. It's really cheap and you can get 10-20,000 for damages or theft.
xstarsprinklesx xstarsprinklesx 9 years
Even without paying for monitoring service, I feel better having an alarm system installed as a deterrent. If someone broke in, at least the alarm might scare him/her off or get a neighbor's attention if I weren't there.
MsWalton MsWalton 9 years
I'm glad I read this today. Moving next month. Definitely going to call the rental office to see if locks can be changed. Thanks!
Marci Marci 9 years
I've had ADT at several locations for years and I found them terrific to deal with.
telewyo telewyo 9 years
My neighborhood is nice and quiet and I don't really worry too much about robbery but being a single girl living alone (with my dog who sleeps more soundly than me) I put a security system sign out in front and I went to home depot and got those little alarms to stick on the windows and doors. They just stick on and you can turn them off an on. My general thought is that the alarm wouldn't do much if I was gone for the weekend (but I have renter's insurace for that case) and if I am home it lets me sleep a little more soundly because, although they aren't foolproof or high-tech, they would make a super annoying screech and wake me or the dog up fast enough to get out and/or call 911 and hopefully scare away the bad guy.
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
ADT has a wireless alarm that they set up in your rented place that doesn't require them to run wires. You can take that with you when you move! It's expensive to install, though. I think it's about $400-600 versus the very cheap wired one that has to stay with the apt.
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I already have pretty good security where I live, but if I didn't, I would definatly considering gettign some even though it's a rental.
verily verily 9 years
Judging a neighborhood by its median income or "roughness" is not necessarily a good indicator. My parents live in the nice, upper class portion of their town (they were there first and all the doctors/lawyers declared it the it spot to build). Their house has been burglarized twice and many of the neighbors have also been hit once or twice. Granted, these houses sit back on their lots and have lots of trees in front, making it a burglar's paradise... Don't depend on dogs as a deterrent. They had three when they were last burglarized and all three so-called guard dogs were cowering under the porch. We suspect they got kicked. :( The insurance company basically forced them to get a security system. They went with ADT and have no complaints. I live in an apt. complex that provides alarms, and I never set the alarm, except when I leave for a few days at a time. There's only been 1 break-in attempt (failed) in the entire complex since I moved in 3 years ago.
Kristinh1012 Kristinh1012 9 years
I don't know the name of any companies, but I know there are some security system companies that will actually install a security system into a rented home for free. You have to have it put in the owners name and he has to sign for it. The renter pays a monthly fee for the system, which is pretty inexpensive (about $40.00 from what I hear). The system is there to stay but does not have to be paid for when inactive, so the owner has really no obligation. There may be an initial one time larger fee in the beginning, but I'm not sure. I think it depends on the company. You may just want to get into the phone book and call a few places to see if they offer this service.
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