Best Home Security Systems For Renters

The last thing you want to find after a long day of work is that someone has broken into your apartment. Even if they didn’t get away with any of your belongings, you are still left feeling violated. That is why, even when you live in an apartment, you need a security system. Because the next time someone tries to break in you and your family may be there

Adding a security system, even when you are renting, is more than just a good idea. Depending on the rules of your rental you may want to reach out to your landlord before adding a system. You should also look into a portable system that isn’t hardwired, if you pay for the system, you don’t want to leave it there, or have an issue removing it.

We know that you may have questions about finding the right home security system as a renter, but that is why we are here, we can help you find and install a security system that will work for you. That is why we have put together this handy guide to make it easy for you to find a system that will work for your space.

What you should look for in a home security system when you are renting

With so many wireless home security systems available, there is no reason for you to choose a hard-wired system. It will involve installation when you put it in, and if you move you will have to have it uninstalled, so my advice is to keep it simple. I have a fully wireless security system in my apartment for a few reasons, one it’s easy to install and two I can take it with me when I move into a new place.

Finding a wireless security system is so much easier than it used to be. When I bought mine the problem wasn’t that there wasn’t a good option, it was that there were too many great options. Which can be a little overwhelming when you are trying to find the best way to keep you and your belongings safe.

I like to research everything, which means I have tested and tried almost every system. But now you can take advantage of the fact that I am a total and complete nerd. I mean I love to research and write about home security systems, so I suppose being a nerd is implied. So you can use my nerdiness to help you find a great home security system for your apartment or rental house.

Before you choose a system, there are a few things that you want to decide. The first thing you need to know is, do you want to manage your own system, or do you want a monitoring service. If you don’t want to use a monitoring system you will be the one in charge of everything, so if something is detected by your security system they will send you a notification, and then you are responsible for contacting the authorities.

Honestly, I don’t recommend this option. By the time you receive a notification and contact the proper authorities you may end up coming home to find all of your valuables gone. There are some great wireless companies that provide reasonably priced monitoring services.

Having a professional monitoring service means that wherever you are, they will be listening for alarms and they will be able to immediately get in touch with your local authorities. Professional monitoring means that you are covered 24/7.

When you monitor your own system you leave yourself up to the possibility of missing a notification or being in an area where you cannot receive notifications. If you are away on a vacation you would need to make sure that someone had access to your home, which also poses its own unique risks.

We will provide you both monitored and self-monitored options, but I will encourage you to choose a professional monitoring service. While I have never experienced a break-in I like knowing that I don’t have to manage everything if one should occur.

There are some great budget friendly professional monitoring service, so if you are concerned about cost, we can help you find something that can work for you. These are our top choices when it comes to finding a home security system for your apartment or house rental. Our favorites include a monitoring service.

Frontpoint LogoOur top home security service for rental properties #1

Frontpoint is our favorite when it comes to home security for any type of home. But we especially like it when it comes to apartments or rental houses. One of the reasons we like and so often recommend Frontpoint is their professional monitoring. They have a pure 100% cellular monitoring service. So no power in your home, no problem. No internet in your home, no problem.

With Frontpoint’s monitoring service you will always be covered. No one can cut a wire and deactivate your home security, which makes them one of the best DIY home security services around. They also have some additional features that will protect your home even if someone gets in and tries to destroy the control panel. Should someone try to damage the panel Frontpoints crash and smash technology will send a distress signal to the monitoring station.

When it comes to the equipment there are several packages that you can choose from. If you are just getting started there are some good options that can help you build a solid security system even if you are in a small apartment.

While you can choose your package, each package requires a 36-month contract. But the contract doesn’t keep you from moving the security system if you move or are relocated. These are the current packages and equipment available from Frontpoint.

What you can expect from Frontpoint

The first thing you can expect is someone who is helpful and friendly. When I first contacted them to ask about their services they were knowledgeable and patient and answered all of my questions. They are also open to allowing us to use their devices and service to complete our reviews. Which is not always the case when you reach out to a service provider.

Frontpoint is a DIY system, but they do provide you some decent instructions. As an instructional designer, I am always ready and willing to critique instructions, but while I had a few questions, all in all, it as an easy system to set up. If you get your system and you have questions they will also be happy to help you.

Once you have your system set up you are pretty much ready to go. And you can just leave it in the hands of the monitoring system. Rapid Response is the center that FrontPoint uses to manage their professional monitoring services. Rapid Response is an established company that provides fire alarm monitoring in New York, so while they outsource they do it with an experienced well-regarded organization.

PROS:
  • FrontPoint is a very customer friendly company
  • It is a full DIY wireless home security system
  • Their professional monitoring service is 100% cellular
  • They have the added benefit of using Z-Wave technology
  • Their crash and smash technology can alert the monitoring system even if the control panel is damaged

CONS:
  • The only contract option is 36 months
  • While the DIY isn’t that hard, you will have to do all of the install yourself

Link Interactive

Link Interactive may look new, but they have an old soul. They are part of a larger home security company known as Mountain Alarm. Mountain Alarm a Utah-based regional security company that has been in business for over 60 years, has partnered wth Alarm.com to create the Link Interactive brand. And it seems to have been a success, as Link Interactive can be found at the top of most home security review lists.

And we are among the crowd that thinks Link Interactive has a lot to offer. By partnering with Costco they were able to grow the Link Interactive brand, and while that partnership has ended Link Interactive still enjoys the benefits of name recognition. And while that makes them recognizable, it is the service itself that deserves all the accolades.

While primarily a home security system, Link Interactive also excels when it comes to home automation. More and more security and full home automation solutions can be found in bundles as a way to create a better customer experience.

Their automation offerings include smart locks, lighting controls, small appliance automation, garage door controls and of course home security alarms, cameras and sensors. They also user-friendly apps for almost every device you can think of. They have an app for Android, iOS, Windows 7 phone, Apple Watch, and Blackberry. Which pretty much covers every device but Google.

Like Frontpoint, Link Interactive has professional monitoring services, which is something you need, so you should at least strongly consider one. They have three levels of service.

If you are trying to decide on a plan, the Elite plan is the best of the three and with only a ten dollar difference between the three plans, it is worth it for what you get. The Elite plan will allow you to use the Link Interactive app to connect with your video camera.

You can view a live stream, set a schedule, record and even control your footage for all of the cameras you have. The Elite package will also alert you if a motion detector or sensor detects an open door or window.

Link Interactives Elite package also include Cloud storage that allows you to review recorded clips, you can store up to 1.000 video clips a month if you need more storage you can get additional space for $5 per month.

Purchasing Your Equipment

Link Interactive has removed the pre-selected equipment packages and now allows you to choose the devices you want a la carte, which allows you to build a home security system that works for you. One thing you will need to purchase is the Link Interactive Go! Control Panel, it functions as both a home automation system and a home security hub. Created with 2GIG Technologies the Go! Panel can control all of the devices that you purchase.

While you will need to sign a contract, they are not as long as some of the other home security providers, you can choose a 12, 24 or 36-month contract You also get a 30 day trial period, but once that period ends you will be bound to the contract option you have selected.

Like FrontPoint, Link Interactive is DIY, which means you are the installer. It’s not too hard to install, but the synchronization may take you a bit of time to set up. Link Interactive provides videos that can help you with the installation, and if you are really stuck, which has happened to all of us, you can contact their customer support. They are available to you by email, phone, skype and live chat, and they are more than willing to help you with the installation process.

Link Interactive has made some adjustments to their service to make it more appealing to new customers, they have lowered the cost of their professional monitoring plans, and they now allow you to choose the equipment that you want without having to purchase a package. Which makes them a great fit for your apartment or rental home. Being able to get what you need makes it easier to create a home security system that works for you.

PROS:
  • They use both wireless and cellular with their monitoring service
  • It is a full DIY wireless home security system
  • You can easily reach their customer service if you need help with installation
  • Their Elite package allows you to monitor live feed using their smartphone app
  • Their crash and smash technology can alert the monitoring system even if the control panel is damaged
  • There are three contract options 12, 24 and 36 months, you also get a 30 day trial period

CONS:
  • There is only a 2-year warranty on equipment
  • While the DIY isn’t that hard, you will have to do all of the install yourself

Protect AmericaThere are a lot of reasons to like Protect America, they are a great option for renters as the service is wireless and should you need to move out, the service will move with you. We also like that they have no equipment or activation costs. Which makes it easy for you to get a quality security system without a huge upfront investment.

Protect America is also easy to work with, they will help you find the best package for you. So if you have a small space, they will help you find a package that works with your square footage. You can also work with them to create a more customized solution.

You can add items like a talking command center, glass break detectors, flood detectors and security cameras. By working with Protect America you can put together an equipment package that works with what you need.

Protect America provides professional monitoring services, which is something that you should seriously consider (just a friendly reminder). They use Criticom Monitoring Services (CMS) which is a highly rated monitoring service. This service will contact law enforcement or emergency services for you in the event that an alarm is triggered.

Something that we really like about Protect America is their lifetime home security equipment warranty. No matter what package you choose or which devices you add, they are all covered by a lifetime warranty, which is not all that common in this industry.

PROS:
  • As of today the Protect America rates are guaranteed for the life of your contract
  • You don’t have to pay any installation or equipment fees
  • You can get professional monitoring starting at $19.99 which is one of the lowest prices we have seen
  • You get a 30-day free trial
  • Lifetime warranty for equipment

CONS:
  • If you want cellular coverage you will pay for it.
  • The $19.99 monitoring plan requires a landline phone

Live Watch SecurityLiveWatch, previously known as a company called SafeMart, may not be the biggest home security services around, but they do have some cool equipment and features that make them an interesting company to watch.

They provide 100% wireless equipment, they also provide you with a touchscreen control panel with has a built in camera, so if someone is trying to disarm your panel they can take a picture of them. Which is one of the coolest features we have seen in a while.

While they aren’t at the top of out list, there are some things we like about them. They have some of the most customer friendly policies we have seen. You can cancel anytime without a fee. Yep, you don’t like it, you can say adios and ride off into the sunset with no fee.

They do have a one year contract, but with no fee for canceling your aren’t tied. While they do make you purchase your own equipment, they also give you a year to return them, so if that first year you just aren’t feeling it, you can just return everything and find something new.

There are a few ways you can go with LiveWatch, you can do just equipment without a professional monitoring service, you can do equipment and a monitoring service, or you can just add monitoring service. If you already have a system and equipment that you love, you can just add LiveWatch to monitoring things for you.

LiveWatch also gives you more options when it comes to professional monitoring. They have four plans, and their rates are more than competitive. They are also able to provide service in all 50 states, which means if you need to move they can move with you.

LiveWatch uses a proprietary alert system called ASAPer, it allows them to send instant notifications to a preset group of contacts. If a break-in or other alarm triggering event should occur everyone on the contact list will receive an instant notification, they can then access a group chat portal where they can address and resolve the issue.

LiveWatch Plug and Protect IQ 2.0 also makes it easier to install, you do have to purchase it as a package, and while the price tag of $599 may seem steep, we think it’s worth it. It is a DIY system, so you will need to install all of the devices, including the IQ 2.0. Touchscreen panel.

So if you are renting you will need to check with your landlord to see if you can install the panel. If you do get the go ahead to install your system, the nice thing is that the devices come pre-configured, so after you set everything up you don’t have to spend the rest of the day trying to figure out how to get the system to work.

If you are looking for a technology focused security system for your rental house or apartment, LiveWatch is one you should be watching.

PROS:
  • They are invested in providing current technology, their TouchScreen control panel has a camera that can take a picture of someone who may try to destroy it
  • It is compatible with a variety of third-party equipment
  • While it is DIY, its not hard to install
  • There is no cancellation fee should you find yourself no longer needing, or liking the system

CONS:
  • The equipment cost can get fairly expensive

AT&T Digital LifeOne nice thing about AT&T Digital Life is that it is very renter friendly. While with other systems you may find you have to make them work in a rental, AT&T is ready to go the minute you have it set up. They are also one of the better security systems when it comes to home security systems.

What I love about AT&T Digital Life is how seamlessly they merge home security and home automation. You don’t have to choose one or the other because they exist as one. But that awesomely seamless perfect smart home will cost you more than some of the other providers.

With Digital Life you will also get a lot of modern cool technology, but like the home automation, you will pay more for it. So it comes down to what you can afford and what you want. If you want a DIY system that you can install, Digital Life isn’t that. It is professionally installed, and you will pay for that too.

AT&T Digital Life has thoughtful and well-designed packages, if you just want to start with a security option, the Smart Security package comes in around $4o per month. You get a decent starter package when it comes to equipment and you also get 24/7 professionally monitored service.  If you want a more robust package you can get Premium Security for $65 per month.

If you are on a budget the Smart Security only requires a $50 equipment fee and a $40 per month payment. This is an attractive option if you are living in a small apartment, it can provide you with the security you need, and should you move into a larger place you can upgrade your package.

Another way that using a product like AT&T Digital Life has advantages is when it comes to professional monitoring. While some DIY providers have an add on professionally monitoring service, some just leave it up to you to manage your security.

If you don’t have a professionally monitored system you will be in charge. If something in your home triggers an alarm, you will most likely get a notification sent to your smartphone. Once you receive the notification it is then up to you to contact the authorities.

While it may seem like cost savings to not have a professionally monitored service, its something you should consider. If you aren’t attached to your phone 24/7 and you don’t want to be, then a monitoring service is something you need.

They also have a simple pricing structure, so you don’t have to try to calculate what your “actual” cost will be, they tell you straight up what your price will be. The professional installation is also a nice service. Especially if you are a novice. All of the installers have been background checked so you know that they will do the job professionally.

Another nice feature that Digital Life has everything that you need to keep your apartment or rental house safe. And if you need to move, it can move with you.

PROS:
  • AT&T has some street cred when it comes to the equipment they provide
  • You can make your own automation processes, which means you are the captain of the ship
  • Their professional installation is on point

CONS:
  • 2-year mandatory contract is a bit of a downer
  • The setup fee is a bit more than is needed.

iSmartAlarmIf you want a simple DIY home security system that you can manage on your own iSmartAlarm can provide that for you. You can also start small with their basic starter package, so if you are just looking for something that will let you manage your home security, we would recommend checking iSmartAlarm out.

It isn’t that hard to install, but it is not without a few glitches that may make you say a few choice words during the setup process. If you choose the Preferred package which is the basic one, you will get CubeOne which is the hub that you will need to connect to your router. You will need a router to make everything work.

You will also get one motion sensor, two contact sensors (for your windows and doors), two remote tags and window stickers. The “tags” are key fobs that you can use to access the system. They allow you to set, disarm or set off the alarm.

If you choose iSmartAlarm you may find yourself frustrated at the limited amount of options should you want to add to your system. You can buy contact sensors, but beyond there isn’t a lot of room to grow. One thing that is nice is that iSmartalarm allows you to integrate with IFTTT, which can allow you to connect other devices that can work as a part of a more robust home security system.

If you upgrade your package to the Premium level you will receive iCamera KEEP, you may find that it is a bit challenging to plug in, but once it is plugged in it should work well. It did a decent job for us when we tried it.

One area that still needs some improvement is the way their apps perform. This is not a new issue for iSmartAlarm, and while they have released several versions that have fixed some of the bigger issues, the app is still just basic. If you have the camera you can watch the feed, but outside of that its just average.

iSmartAlarm is a pure DIY service that doesn’t offer a professional monitoring option. So you will need access to your smartphone anytime you area way. If something triggers an alarm you are the point of contact. You then have to assess the situation and contact the appropriate authorities.

PROS:
  • It is easy to setup and easy to use
  • You can connect it with other devices to create a larger system using IFTTT
  • If you choose the Premium Package you can add iCamera KEEP

CONS:
  • You are the point of contact if you are notified of an alarm you need to contact the authorities on your own
  • The app still needs some improvement.

[/wpsm_column

SimpliSafeWhen you live in an apartment or rental home it can be frustrating when you are trying to add a home security system, most likely you can’t put in new wiring or put holes in the walls. That is why we like SimpliSafe. No new wires, and no holes in the wall. Which makes it a great DIY security system for renters.

Purely wireless it is easy to set up and with five different packages, you can create a security system that can work for your apartment or rental home. It is also one of the most popular home security systems for renters.

You don’t have to worry about a contract that ties you in for an extended period. And if you want your system to be professionally monitored, SimpliSafe can now do that for you. And you can still do it with no contract.

While some reviews may indicate the lack of a camera with SimpliSafe that is no longer the case, which makes us pretty happy. It was one big piece of the security puzzle they were missing. But now they have a SimpliSafe Security Camera, it is currently still in beta release, but we expect it to be available soon.

The addition of more advanced looking technology puts a new spin on what was kind of outdated looking equipment. It also allows SimpliSafe to add something that their customers have wanted for several years.

When it comes to professional monitoring SimpliSafe has two budget friendly options. Both plans provide 24/7 monitoring services and a cellular connection. And both are available with no contract. To say this is rare would be an overstatement. Monitoring services with no contracts are kind of like the dinosaur. Although not nearly as cool.

Beyond the reasonable price, SimpliSafe also has one other big thing that makes us love their professional monitoring services and that is their cellular connection. No power, no wireless connection, no problem. Your SimpliSafe system will still work even when you lose power.

SimpliSafe has an interactive plan that provides you with a remote control, online and mobile app access and the ability to create secret alerts. No, they aren’t a place to hide all of your secrets you will still have to keep those to yourself, but you can configure the system to send an alert without setting off an alarm should someone open a safe, liquor cabinet or a desk drawer.

PROS:
  • The first and best thing about SimpliSafe is that you aren’t tied down by a contract
  • For a DIY system, it is affordable and easy to install
  • You can get professional monitoring at a very reasonable price
  • They have added a camera that is currently in beta release

CONS:
  • If you don’t add professional monitoring you are responsible for calling the authorities should an alarm be triggered
  • You cannot connect with other Smarthome devices and cameras
  • The equipment looks dated and isn’t as modern as some other providers

[/wpsm_column

In Conclusion

Living in an apartment or rental house comes with its own set of security concerns. You may not know how many people have keys to your home, and if the locks haven’t been changed it could leave you open to someone possibly accessing your home or apartment when you are not at home.

That is why putting together a home security system is important, no matter where you live or the type of home you are renting. Finding the right system for you space doesn’t have to be painful, in fact, there are more apartment friendly home security options than you may think.

If you want someone to manage your system you can find a provider that provides professional monitoring services, which will allow you to know that someone is always keeping an eye on things. If you want to manage your system without a professional service, you should always have your phone with you in the event you get a notification that you need to act on while you are away.

Home security doesn’t discriminates when it comes to if you own or rent, so if you don’t feel like the home you are in is safe, there are things you can do to make your living space more secure. If you cannot add wires or screw things into the wall you can always look for a purely wireless solution like SimpliSafe, they offer both a decent DIY option and professional monitoring.

The most important thing that you have a system in place that protects your home and family.

Jennifer Kelley is an author and technology blogger. She feels weird writing about herself in the third person, but does so when asked. A graduate of The Ohio State University she is a dedicated football fan and a total dork who loves all things written. You can follow her on twitter @theonlyjen

Home Security List