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Find the best security system for renters

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by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team

The following companies participate in our Accreditation Program: Protect America, Protect Your Home, Vivint, Blue by ADT, and Link Interactive

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Whether you live in an apartment, condo or single family home, finding the right security system to keep you and your belongings safe is no easy feat. A home security system may include an alarm, motion detectors, cameras or 24/7 monitoring. When you’re a renter, it’s not always feasible or convenient to install permanent equipment.

One of the biggest obstacles renters face is the fear of the long-term contract. Many home security systems offer plans that require a 1-, 3- or even 5-year contract. Signing on for an extended period of time may not be ideal for renters who aren’t sure where they plan to live in the near future. Look for a provider that allows flexible short-term contracts or no-contract plans.

Can you get an alarm system for an apartment?
Yes, but you’ll need to look for a portable, wireless system that you can install yourself and that won’t do any damage to your (rented) walls. The added bonus is that a portable system can easily go with you when you move. There are a number of portable alarm systems that renters can choose from. Offering a variety of price points and features, it’s important to consider your specific needs when choosing a plan.

What are the best security systems for renters?

To find a good home security companies for renters we compared alarm system equipment, technology, features, integration, monitoring plans and price. We only included systems that are renter-friendly, meaning they are wireless, portable and have reasonable contract terms. We looked for companies that offered DIY installation and smaller systems at reasonable prices to best suit renters of apartments and single-family homes.

Good for smart home integration
Protect America

Protect America’s most popular package, the Silver Plan, comes with nine door and window sensors, motion detection and 24/7 burglary monitoring. Equipment is 100 percent wireless (meaning you can easily take it with you when you move) and can be installed yourself. It comes with a lifetime warranty.

Pros: While many providers commonly require a cellular connection, Protect America allows system connection via cellular, broadband or landline, making the system more accessible to more people.

Cons: You’ll have to pay an additional $9.99 each month for video monitoring, as it doesn’t come standard on any plan.

  • Contract: 36 months
  • Installation: Do-it-yourself installation
  • Price: Starting at $37.99/month

Good for contract terms
Protect Your Home

Protect Your Home uses ADT equipment and ADT-monitored home security systems, giving customers a wide selection of advanced home security equipment to choose from, including security cameras and video surveillance equipment. The ADT Pulse feature gives you mobile access to arm and disarm your system and check vital signs remotely via your smartphone, and the monitoring center is monitored by trained professionals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Pros: Six-month money back guarantee, special cord cutter package

Cons: Professional installation costs $99, and a termination fee will be applied if you cancel your service before the 36 month contract period is up

  • Contract: 36 months
  • Installation: Professional
  • Price: $48.99/month

Good no-contract security system

Vivint Security offers a number of customizable packages to help customers find a plan that suits their needs. Vivint offers free consultations to help you find the right system and provides professional installation to make sure the job is done right.

Pros: Vivint offers packages with Smart Locks that allow you to lock your doors—including your garage door— remotely via an app.

Cons: 100% of the remaining contract must be paid in the case of early cancellation.

  • Contract: 48 or 60 months; month-to-month available if you buy equipment up front
  • Installation: Professional installation
  • Price: $39.99/month

Good starter system
Blue by ADT

Every Blue by ADT package includes smash and crash protection, fire and carbon monoxide protection, a wireless security tablet and a free mobile app. You can select from self-monitoring or professional monitoring plans. At $45.99 per month, the Secure system package is a good starter package for a reasonable price, but you can choose to upgrade to the Complete package plan for an extra $12 per month, which includes WiFi video surveillance with 30 days of storage.

Pros: Blue by ADT has pet-smart motion detectors, which helps eliminate unnecessary false alarms.

Cons: Blue by ADT requires 15 days written notice for cancellation.

  • Contract: 24 or 36 months; month-to-month available if you buy equipment up front
  • Installation: Do-it-yourself or professional installation
  • Price: Starting at $29.99/month
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  • Silver Plan
  • Prices starting at $37.99/month
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  • Basic Monthly
  • Prices starting at $39.99/month

Bottom line: What to look for?

If you live in a rental home, condo or apartment, it’s best to buy a wireless home alarm system that you can install yourself. This way, if you move, you can easily take the system with you, and you’re less likely to damage the walls of your living space during the installation process. It’s also important to look for a short-term monthly contract or one that is easily canceled so that you aren’t locked into providing home security in a place that you no longer live.

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    by Jessica Render ConsumerAffairs Research Team

    As a member of the ConsumerAffairs research team, Jessica Render is dedicated to providing well-researched, valuable content designed to help consumers make informed purchase decisions they can feel confident making. She holds a degree in journalism from Oral Roberts University.