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Apartment Security: Best Alarm System for Renters in 2019

Just like homeowners, property renters need home security. It doesn’t matter if you rent an apartment, a condo or a luxury home, there are options that can help protect your family and property.

Frontpoint Contol Panel and Canary All-in-One camera.

When researching your options, there are a few characteristics you should look for. After all, finding a good apartment security system is slightly different from buying one for a house you own.

A good system for renters:

  1. can be installed without drilling.
  2. can communicate via internet and/or a weak cellular signal.
  3. must be moveable without penalty.

Of course, all of the systems recommended below fit the bill, but you still have a choice to make. You can choose a professional monitored, self-monitored, or video surveillance-based system. For renters, there are pros and cons to all three choices.

Frontpoint: Our #1 Rated Home Security Company Loves Renters

Pros

  • Wireless sensors
  • No drilling
  • Easy DIY installation
  • Home automation + works with Amazon Alexa
  • Video surveillance
  • Professional Monitoring for Burglaries, Fires, & Medical Emergencies
  • A+ BBB Rating + Angie’s List Super Service Winner
  • Free shipping (even returns)

Cons

  • Monthly fee
  • Minimal equipment credits for renters.
  • May not be first to offer the latest technology

Frontpoint is a professionally monitored home security company and our top rated pick for the 5th straight year in a row. They will call for help on your behalf 24 hours per day, 7 days per week for events including burglary, fire, and even medical emergencies.

One of the reasons why Frontpoint is a great pick for renters is that the system is easy to install and most sensors are wireless. The system communicates via a cellular signal (with optional broadband backup) and is self-installed, which will make your landlord happy. If you want a professionally monitored system, a self-installed system is your best bet. This type of system is ideal for apartments and rental properties as there’s no need to drill holes or run wires, like you would with ADT.

Frontpoint’s components are installed using a 3M-style sticky adhesive, which also makes the system easy to uninstall and move when the time comes. They’re also easily removable so walls won’t be damaged.

Frontpoint will let you move at any time without penalty, and even give you a free mover’s kit complete with packaging and new adhesive for your door/window sensors. This makes it easy for you to reinstall your wireless home security system at your new place. Because they’re a nationwide provider, it doesn’t matter if you’re moving to the apartment next door or a new home across the country. In fact, they even provide coverage in parts of Canada.

In addition to home security, Frontpoint can help automate your door locks, lights, and thermostat. Control for smart home services is supported by the panel as well as the smartphone app.

Frontpoint FAQs

  • Do I have to sign a contract?

    Yes. Frontpoint has flexible terms offering both 1 and 3-year contracts. Most renters will want to sign a 1-year contract as there is little incentive to sign a 3-year contract. The 3-year contract provides a larger equipment discount but qualifying for the discount requires that you are a homeowner.

  • What is the monthly fee?

    The monthly fee starts at $34.99 and you can check out what all is included and how much their equipment costs here.

  • How will I be treated as a customer?

    Frontpoint’s brand is built around customer service, and they take feedback seriously. They have an A+ rating with the BBB, multiple Angie’s List Super Service Awards, and high accolades on review sites. Check out our full Frontpoint Review.

  • Is this setup wireless?

    Yes. While they also offer wired sensors sensors, the primary sensors that you need for home security are indeed 100% wireless and cellular. Note: If you choose to add home security cameras to your alarm system, they will require an internet connection. That said, the only Frontpoint camera we recommend is the Skybell Video Doorbell

  • If I move, will they charge me?

    No. They will even give you a free moving kit to make it easier for you.

  • How easy is it to install?

    It’s a super easy do-it-yourself job. Most people can set up the system in less than 30 minutes. The control panel ships with all sensors already pre-paired so setup is truly a no-brainer — all you have to do is plug it in and stick the sensors where you want them. A basic system setup is as follows: Find a spot to place your control panel. We recommend placing it out-of-view from exterior door or windows. Next, peel the double-sided tape and stick the sensors on your doors/windows. Third, find a spot to set or mount your motion detector. Finally, contact Frontpoint to activate your system and walk you through its functionality. If you don’t want to call, you can even use your smartphone for mobile activation of your home alarm.

  • Can I get alerts on my cell phone?

    Yes, you can. Frontpoint offers premium plans that include everything from cellular alerts to home automation.

  • What if I buy and am not satisfied?

    Return it! They are so sure that you will love your system that they offer a 30-day risk-free trial. In fact, they will even pay return shipping.

Simplisafe is currently running one of the best promotions we've seen. Check their website for full details.

SimpliSafe: Simply Home Security

SimpliSafe is a cellular alarm system that is drill-free and portable. Their system is different from other burglar alarm systems in that they provide UL-listed professional monitoring (they will call the police for you).

They also don’t require you to maintain their services month-to-month.

Let’s say that you are going on vacation in June, but plan to work from home for the month of July. You can pay SimpliSafe to monitor your house in June and cancel in July.

What this level of flexibility means for renters is that you can move the system with you as you change rental properties or even if you purchase a home down the road. SimpliSafe is flexible and they move with you without penalizing you.

Pros

  • 100% Wireless Alarm System
  • No Drilling
  • Works with Nest
  • Video Surveillance
  • Low Cost Monitoring
  • Award Winning Support

Cons

  • Hardware Looks and Feels Dated
  • Some Security Concerns With Device Communication

SimpliSafe FAQs

  • What is the monthly fee?

    The monthly fees with SimpliSafe are attractively low. Monitoring starts at just $14.99 per month.

  • How will I be treated as a customer?

    Customers seem happy with their service. SimpliSafe holds an A+ rating with the BBB, an Angie’s List Super Service Award, and they have plenty of satisfied customers.

  • Is this setup wireless?

    Yes—it’s cellular. However, like Frontpoint, if you choose to add a home security camera to your system, it will require an internet connection.

  • If I move, will they charge me?

    They will not. You can move your security system to your new home with no penalty.

  • How easy is it to install?

    Most people can install the system in about 30 minutes. No tools required.

  • Can I get alerts on my cell phone?

    Yes, you can. SimpliSafe has a premium monthly package that includes alerts to your phone.

  • What if I buy it and don’t love it?

    Return it. They accept returns.

abode: Self-Monitored Home Security

While Frontpoint and SimpliSafe both offer options for renters to have access to professional monitoring, there is another way: self-monitoring. Self-monitoring relies on your ability to respond to alerts. If someone breaks into your home, the system will notify you via push notification, and you can decide how to handle the situation. Currently, we recommend abode for those who want to self-monitor.

abode requires high-speed internet, but again the system is wireless which means no drilling and portability. For no extra cost, you gain access to great features like push notifications, smart home services, and integrations with devices like Amazon Alexa and services like IFTTT.

Because the system is self-monitored, moving is no problem. When it’s time to go, just unplug it, pack it up, and take it with you.

If you decide you no longer want the responsibility of monitoring your own home, you can always choose to add professional monitoring—abode offers monitoring services, too.

Pros

  • Self-Monitoring Eliminates Monthly Fees
  • Free Plan Includes Smartphone Alerts
  • Works with IFTTT and Amazon Alexa

Cons

  • Startup Company
  • Expensive Upfront Equipment
  • Requires High-Speed Internet

abode FAQs

  • What is the monthly fee?

    There is no monthly fee; however, you can pay to activate cellular backup if you choose. In fact, though abode is a self-monitored system, you can also add professional monitoring if you choose to do so.

  • How will I be treated as a customer?

    TBD. abode is still a new company, and they are not BBB accredited. In our experience, customer service is solid.

  • Is this setup wireless?

    Yes, it requires a high-speed internet connection.

  • If I move, will they charge me?

    Nope!

  • How easy is it to install?

    Most people can install the system in about 30 minutes, no tools required.

  • Can I get alerts on my cell phone?

    Yes, you can. Smartphone alerts are included for free.

  • What if I buy it and don’t love it?

    Return it within 30 days.

Arlo Pro: Self Monitored Security for the Tech Loving Renter

Related to self-monitoring is video monitoring. If you decide to self-monitor, we highly recommend you also purchase a home security camera. There are several great home security cameras, and several not-so-great cameras. In general, the cameras we recommend are different for each use case, but Arlo Pro is an all-around wonderful indoor home security camera.

Arlo Pro will cost you around $233.33, which includes a camera that can be used inside or outside and a base station. While it’s a bit costlier than the competition, you get a camera with a motion detector and an extremely loud siren. Plus, you can add additional cameras for $179.00 or you can add the even cheaper Arlo Q. For a higher resolution camera (1080p vs. 720p), we recommend Arlo Pro.

If Arlo Pro detects motion, it will notify you. It will also notify you of loud sounds. If you pay to add Arlo Smart ($2.99 per camera per month), you’ll also get an additional Person Detection feature.

Arlo also includes 7 days of free cloud storage, which is more than enough, and also helps to lower your total cost of ownership. You can buy more storage if needed. The indoor Arlo Q also supports a continuous video recording plan (as does Arlo Pro 2) if you use it indoors and plugged into a power source. And yes, Arlo Pro has night vision, so you can keep a close watch on your home during the day and at night.

Pros

  • No Monthly Fee
  • Loud Siren
  • Person Detection via Arlo Smart

Cons

  • Internet Dependent
  • Requires a Base Station

Arlo FAQs

  • What is the monthly fee?

    There isn’t one. You buy the camera and monitor any alerts on your own. If you want additional cloud storage, you can pay for it, but extra storage is optional.

  • How will I be treated as a customer?

    You probably won’t need to interact with Arlo team, and you can buy their products directly from Amazon . However, Arlo is backed by Netgear. Tech support is somewhat lacking—email support is the best option.

  • Is this setup wireless?

    It is. It works using your home’s internet. Cameras are battery-powered and there’s even a solar charging accessory. The only thing that needs to be plugged in is the Arlo Pro base station which also needs to remain connected to your modem or a Cat5 outlet.

  • If I move, will they charge me?

    Nope. Since you do not have to enter into an agreement, you can take it with you when you leave.

  • How easy is it to install?

    Very easy. Setup takes about 15 minutes.

  • Can I get alerts on my cell phone?

    Yes, and that feature is included with the Arlo device.

  • What if I buy it and don’t love it?

    If you buy from Amazon, you will follow Amazon’s return policy.

Final Thoughts

Just because you live in an apartment doesn’t mean you don’t need a good home security system. There’s an alarm option out there that will work for you so that you can live safely.

Frontpoint is our #1 Pick for 2019

30-Day Risk-Free Trial · Available Nationwide · Smash-Proof Protection

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