Posted: March 12, 2015
When you move into a shared apartment, you have more than just yourself to think about. While it takes some time getting used to living with other people, one thing that needs to be discussed right away is home security. This means deciding on the right amount and type of security, as well as maintaining points of contact.
Who will be the main point of contact for the security provider? Discuss this with everyone signing the lease, and make sure that the chosen person is comfortable with it. This person will be the first one contacted in case of an emergency in the apartment building, a theft or break- in, or whenever the apartment needs something. This will also mean that they will be called first if the apartment management needs to speak to anyone in the house for any reason.
Involve everyone in the apartment in a discussion about security and guidelines for sharing the living space. Whether you live with one roommate or several, everyone should have a say about what they need to feel comfortable at home. This starts by establishing basic ground rules about personal property. For instance: one rule may be that while one roommate is away, other roommates should not let outsiders into that roommate’s personal space. While you’d hope that everyone who walks into your apartment is trustworthy, having multiple roommates will make it difficult for you to know everyone who walks in the door.
After going over basic privacy rules, it’s time to discuss what extra forms of security everyone needs in order to feel safe from any intruders. This can mean a system that incorporates sensors throughout the entire house/apartment or even just extra locks on the main door. There are many modern gadgets, like Canary™, that sync with your smartphone and allow you to personally monitor video feeds and motion sensor activity. Of course, other roommates may see this as an invasion of privacy, and they may not want that level of security. Research different kinds of home security and reach a consensus on the type and level of security you want.
Home security can be as simple as this: limiting access to house keys to those who live in the house or apartment. You and your roommate(s) could agree not to make extra keys for significant others. Sure, they may want to give them access whenever they need it, but the more keys in circulation, the higher the chance that one gets lost. Anyone could then find that key and trace it back to your home. If you have keypad locks on any doors or entry points, keep the password only between you and your roommate(s). Make the password easy to remember, but not easily figured by any outsiders. This means avoiding pins like ‘1234’ and ‘1111.’
It’s one thing to leave the apartment while a roommate is still home and leave the door unlocked. However, if you’re the last one out, you should lock the door for security. This is an obvious component of helping to keep your home secure. The door should also be locked every night when everyone is off to bed. This helps prevents any possible burglars from walking in while everyone is asleep. If your apartment has a patio or balcony, you should also make sure those doors are shut and locked, even if you live on a second or higher floor.
Sharing a living space with another person can be a challenge, but the first step to feeling comfortable with your new roommates is to set some ground rules and work as a team to determine a home security plan.