Are you a renter? If so, do you worry about burglars? How good are your locks? How many other people have keys?
When you rent a house or apartment, the owner should fit new locks so previous tenants’ keys no longer work. This doesn’t always happen. Sometimes a landlord has two locks and rotates them, so some previous tenants will still be able to get in.
As a renter, you need to feel safe in your home especially if you are running a home business. Here are some ways you can improve the security of your rented house or apartment:
1. Get a Dog
Dogs will usually, but not always, bark when strangers enter your apartment. However a small dog is not going to frighten anyone away, so you need a big dog, at least the size of a German Shepherd. Large dogs and small apartments don’t always go together, but there are exceptions like a great Dane. Check if your lease has a “no pets” clause; but if your lease allows pets, then get a dog.
2. Fit Extra Locks
Drilling holes in a door to fit a bolt is simple, but you need to get the owner’s permission.
3. Replace the Door Locks
If you offer to replace the standard low-cost key-entry lock with an expensive one that has a higher security rating, the apartment owner will probably agree, as long as you give him a key. And therein lies the problem. Your safety is reduced if anyone has a key to where you live.
The best door locks have many features cheap ones lack; unique pin combinations, hardened steel bolts and reinforced metal plates fitted to the frame for the bolt to go into. Cheap locks look the same on the outside, but the differences are obvious once you take the lock apart. Sometimes the brass part you can see is screwed onto a weak alloy or even plastic component, negating the appearance of strength.
You can also buy a removable lock specially designed for use in hotel rooms and rented property.
A removable lock needs no screws or fixing, but can only be used from the inside, so you are safer inside your apartment, but if you are away, your home is still vulnerable.
4. Fit a Wired Alarm System
A wired alarm system needs holes drilling in walls and door frames, so you need permission from the property owner, and you will need to give them an access code.
Any alarm system is only as good as the monitoring service, and most monitoring contracts have a minimum 12-month contract. One advantage of renting an apartment is that you can move every three or six months if you choose to. A long-term monitoring contract would be money down the drain.
The other disadvantage of a wired alarm is that you have to leave it behind when you move. More money wasted.
5. Fit a Wireless Alarm System
A wireless alarm is far and away your best option. Your landlord doesn’t need to know about it because there is no drilling involved. You don’t need to give the landlord an access code, so you are that much safer. You also get to take the system with you when you move, so your investment stays with you for years.
The ideal home security system would have no screw fittings, be removable, have no long monitoring contract, be extendable, and would cover every aspect of your home security, from windows to flooding, from unauthorized access to frozen pipes. That seems like a long list, but there is at least one system on the market that ticks all those boxes. This CNet review rates the Simplisafe wire-free home security system very highly.
The Simplisafe system is one you can set up yourself because there is no installation as such. It’s just a matter of fixing sensors using sticky pads and positioning the base station where it cannot be seen, but where there is still a good cellular signal.
Cellular monitoring of the alarm requires you to sign a monthly recurring contract. Monitoring also lets you log in to the base station over the Internet to check camera feeds and unauthorized access to your gun safe or liquor cabinet.
As a tenant, your options are limited by the terms of your lease. A dog might not be an option and is a long-term commitment you might not want. A removable door lock and a wireless alarm system are your best options because is no drilling required with either. You can also take both with you when you move to another apartment.