Renters experience many of the same frustrations homeowners do when it comes to home security. While renting does have its perks, it can be frustrating to feel as if you don't have control over your home. It can take weeks or months to get maintenance requests resolved and you can't make any major changes to the property. However, this doesn't mean that renters are left without any options for protecting themselves and their belongings.
If you're willing to invest a little energy and cash, the following tips will help secure your home, without breaking your lease.
1. Secure windows and doors
As a renter, you can't make too many physical adjustments to a property. However, there are still ways to improve the security of your windows and doors.
If your door has hinges on the outside, consider investing in a set screw to prevent thieves from removing your door at the hinges. You might also purchase new screws to reinforce the door's strike plate.
Secure your windows by using a rod to limit how far sliding windows can be opened. Invest in curtains or blinds to make it harder for thieves to determine if you're home. Always make sure ALL of your windows are closed and locked before leaving your home. 23% of burglars enter through a window!
Finally, always make sure your doors remained locked at all times. Yes, even when you're at home. 34% of burglars enter through the front door. Not locking your front door leaves you vulnerable to a burglary. If you're home, a burglary may turn violent. (21 Home Invasion Safety Tips)
2. change the locks
In a perfect world, landlords would change the locks to their apartments every time new tenants move in. But we all know that's not how it usually works. Meaning that any number of people could be walking around with keys to your door.Keys are also easily copied so it's difficult to know how many people could potentially have access.
Try asking your landlord to pay for a lock change, but they could refuse. Even if you have to shoulder the cost, it's worth it. You never know who lived there previously and who may have access. Once you change the locks, limit who has access. Try not to provide too many people with copies of keys. Electronic locks are available and allow you to provide people with unique access codes, and change access privileges at any time.
3. use a safe for irreplaceable valuables
Sometimes even the best security systems can't prevent any damage from happening. In the event of a break-in, it's best to have your valuables protected no matter what. Consider purchasing a safe or renting a safe deposit box at a local bank. Use the box to protect valuables such as family heirlooms, expensive jewelry, social security cards, and so on.
If you have (or invest in) a home alarm system, consider placing a sensor on your master bedroom door, That is if that's where you're storing your valuables. This will alert you when the bedroom door is opened/closed, in the case that a burglar entered your home without setting off the alarm.
4. invest in a smart home security system
Of course, the single most effective way to protect yourself is a smart home security system. Signs and window decals alert thieves of the security system, which usually encourages them to move on to the next house. Even if they decide to target your house, a smart security system will instantly notify you and dispatch police. Other devices, such as an image sensor, can give you photographic evidence of a break-in.
A smart home security system isn't permanent, which makes it a great option for renters. The panel, sensors, and devices communicate over Z-wave, not hard wires. This makes installation and removal a breeze. Gotcha Surveillance will happily help you move your security system to a new home.
5. Stay informed of your rights
It's important to understand your rights as a tenant. Landlord-tenant relationship laws vary by state, but a general breakdown of Georgia law can be found here: GA Landlord-Tenant
Another informative resource: Landlordology
Staying informed is important to your security. Whether it's your physical security or financial security, knowing your rights and responsibilities is key to protecting yourself.
6. Get renters insurance
Renters insurance is a great way and inexpensive way to protect yourself. In many localities, less than $150 a year will earn you more than $20,000 in coverage. It won't defend you from burglary, but it will help you recover financially in the event that the worst happens.