Are you concerned that your housemates or landlord are entering your room when you are not there?
What can you do? You deserve privacy and need to know your few possessions are safe when you are absent.
Security, when you are renting a room, is difficult. So much so that many insurance companies will not cover you in that situation. You can hardly install a burglar alarm because the property owner will not permit any drilling.
A Wireless Alarm Is the Answer
You need security from thieves and from previous tenants and your landlord who will have keys. There are ordinances in most cities that require owners to change locks when a new tenant takes over a room or apartment, but many landlords will not do this. You may be allowed to install your own lock, as long as you give the landlord a key, and this is something you should do whenever possible.
Your landlord has a key to your room, and previous tenants have keys, so your privacy and security are non-existent.
Your landlord has rights to enter your room that are strictly limited as long as you pay the rent on time. He or she is not allowed to enter your room as they please, or just to check if you might be damaging the property. If he does so, he is a burglar.
Everyone is entitled to privacy, and a wireless alarm will ensure yours.
A monitored alarm system with a camera will notify you if anyone enters your room. You can watch what the person is doing and decide whether to call the local police department or to deal with the intrusion in another way.
If you have renters’ insurance, and you should have, the cost may be reduced if you have a monitored alarm system.
Installing a Wireless Alarm
Your landlord doesn’t need to know you are installing an intruder protection system. SimpliSafe’s video shows you just how simple an alarm system is to install. There is no drilling involved, no hammering and you don’t even need a screwdriver. Your landlord won’t know you have installed an alarm until he enters when you are away, and your siren blasts his ears.
You should tell the owner of your property you have installed an alarm and give him a unique code. Your alarm log will tell you what codes have been entered, so you will know if it was your landlord. Certainly, after he has activated your system once, he will demand an entry code so he can enter in case of emergency, as is his right. However now he knows you have cameras and an alarm system he is unlikely to enter your room again unless there is a genuine emergency. Video verification, a new feature that is in the works as revealed in Chad Laurans’s recent Forbes interview, will also help determine whether an actual break-in has occurred or not, and in that context – whether your landlord is visiting, or not.
The typical wireless alarm system requires a phone line to a monitoring service. Most people renting rooms do not have their own phone line and rely on cell phones, so choose a system that uses a cellular signal to the alarm monitoring service.
Your alarm system will only require a few components; control panel, door sensor, camera and base station will be enough. Add a glass breakage sensor and window opening sensor if you are on the first floor.
A wireless alarm system has one other significant advantage over a wired one; you can take it with you. When you move from a rented room to a bed-sit or apartment, you can take down your sensors and put them up in your new accommodation just by replacing the sticky mounting pads. A good system will allow you to add the new sensors your larger space requires. Adding new sensors to a good wireless system is simplicity itself.
Monitoring Your Alarm System
You can install an alarm system without a monitoring contract, but is anyone going to take notice of an alarm siren going off in your rented room? It seems unlikely. Most alarm companies charge $30-$50 each month and have a minimum contract of 36 months, but there are a few monitoring services more suited to tenants who might move at short notice. Look for a low monthly charge and a rolling monthly contract you can cancel with just one month’s notice.
Ryan Kh is an experienced blogger, digital content, and social marketer. He is founder of Catalyst For Business and contributor to search giants like Yahoo Finance, MSN. He is passionate on covering topics like big data, business intelligence, startups and entrepreneurship. Connect with him on Twitter @ryankhgb.