Everyone wants to know that their home is secure, especially when they’re not there.

To get that peace of mind, many are forgoing full-blown security systems and installing cameras instead. Many of these security cameras even connect to Wi-Fi and can be operated or viewed via a smartphone app.

But what about renters? What are the rules for cameras when you live in an apartment community?

If you are considering a security camera, it’s a good idea to first approach your apartment management team with these two questions: Can I install a security camera inside my apartment? Can I put cameras outside my apartment?

Can I Install A Security Camera Inside My Apartment?

In general, yes, you can install a security camera inside your apartment. However, there are a couple of considerations.

  • Choose a camera that can be installed without drilling or hard-wiring. If you do have to drill holes to install a camera, you’ll definitely need to get permission from your property manager so you don’t risk losing your security deposit.
  • Discuss it with your roommate. Privacy laws vary by state, but in general, the law says everyone is entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy. To avoid any potential roommate issues get the “ok” before you install cameras.

Can I Put Cameras Outside My Apartment?

In general, no. Your neighbors have a right to expect privacy, too.  So potentially recording them or their guests could definitely cause a problem. Stay friendly with your neighbors, and refrain from installing a camera in common areas.

Where to Put Your Camera

The best option for an apartment is an indoor camera that sits on a shelf, countertop or window sill. The best location is high up and with a view of the front (or back) door—a typical entry points for intruders.

A location high up and out of your sightline ensures that you and your guests won’t be looking directly into the camera lens. Another option is a “smart camera”, which uses facial recognition technology to “learn” who lives in the home and stops recording when it recognizes frequent visitors or residents.

In either case, you’ll still want a camera that can operate either through your smartphone, your home’s smart speaker, or via remote control. This way you can turn it off when you want privacy.

Things to look for in a security camera:

  • Installs without drilling.
  • Connects to your own secure internet (NOT a shared or community Wi-Fi).
  • Easily moved, and ultimately removed, without causing damage.

The Best Security Camera For My Apartment: 4 Options

Luckily, today’s indoor security cameras come with a variety of options in a range of price points.

  • The Wyze Cam Pan is a very affordable option at $30. The Wyze automatically scans your entire apartment in three seconds anytime you open the live feed. It also has two-way audio capability. Wyze Cam Pan automatically detects, tags, and tracks motion within its field of view, recording up to 12 seconds of activity, alerting you to the activity via the smart phone app, and storing videos in the cloud for 14 days. Finally, you can view Wyze Cam’s live stream on any Alexa or Google Assistant device with a screen.
  • The Arlo Q ($80) is a compact, plug-in indoor camera option with 1080p HD video, two-way audio, and enhanced night vision. The Arlo Q is easy to set up, provides instant notifications when motion or audio is detected, and works with Alexa and Google Assistant. Arlo Q comes with Arlo Basic service that lets you keep the past seven days of motion- and sound-triggered recordings. Or you can upgrade to continuous video recording to keep 24/7 recordings in the cloud.
  • Google-owned Nest is the recognized name when it comes to smart home technology, and of course, they have some of the best indoor cameras available. The Nest Cam Indoor ($130) is another plug-in option that features 1080p HD video and streams footage to your phone or tablet via the Nest app. It has a versatile magnetic stand which allows for convenient placement, two-way audio, and eight infrared LEDs for enhanced night vision.
  • The Nest Cam IQ Indoor ($299) is the latest evolution in security cameras, offering not only 1080p HD video but 4K, ultra HD Supersight sensors that allow you to zoom in on someone while still viewing the full room. IQ streams footage to your smartphone or tablet and enables continuous 24/7 recording, storing videos in the cloud for five days. IQ also has advanced features like facial recognition, and the option to choose between event-based recording and continuous video recording. However, advanced features do require a subscription to Nest Aware, which starts at $6 a month.

Find Peace of Mind with Southern Management

A number of our properties have features such as controlled access, on-site management, locked parking garages and 24-hour emergency maintenance, all for your comfort and convenience. If you’re looking for a new place to relax and call home, our 75 apartment communities across Virginia and Maryland offer a variety of options. Explore our communities today with a virtual tour or contact us for more information!