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Thinking of Installing a Security Camera in your Apartment? Here Are Some Things to Consider

What Makes a Good Security Camera for an Apartment?

When it comes to deciding what the best security camera for your apartment is, the wide range of choices represents the many variables that could potentially affect your decision. 

There is a lot of information out there, and it can be easy to get lost in the options. That’s why we’ve listed out the factors that you should consider when deciding what security camera can work best for you.

Size/Type

Apartments can come in a range of sizes, as well as a variety of types, including studios, micro apartments and duplexes, among others. 

For smaller apartments, usually a single camera is enough to cover the whole area. In larger multi-room spaces, it may be more effective to install a multi-camera system, or to use cameras equipped with zoom features.

Apartment ownership

For those of you renting your apartments, losing your security deposit is probably low on the list of things you’d like to happen. 

Function & Location

When determining the best surveillance camera for your apartment, it’s important to ask yourself what functions you are looking for. 

doorbell on the wall of the house with a surveillance camera

Installing a camera outside your door can also tread the line of potential legal issues regarding your neighbors’ privacy. Thus, you should take special care to make sure that any security cameras are positioned in a way that records only your apartment, and won’t violate the privacy of other tenants; always ask for permission first.

When it comes to installing a security camera indoors, so long as no drilling is required, your only legal consideration would be the privacy of your roommates. Of course, if you live alone, this isn’t a problem, but in situations where you’re sharing a living space with others, you must take care not to violate their privacy, ensuring they consent to the installation of cameras.

Budget 

I’m happy with this app. I use it to watch my apartment while I’m away and it’s great.

AlfredCamera user

After I had someone break into my apartment, I discovered this app and downloaded it to my phone and I used another phone that I have laying around. Works great! Now I have a peace of mind. Later I’ll get another old phone and add it also. I really don’t have the money to get a really good security camera but I’m truly grateful that you provide this service and I’m grateful that I can get it for free.’

AlfredCamera user

Recently there was a barricade/hostage situation in the apartment next door and Alfred stayed on guard providing me with life-saving updates. We were forced to shelter in a place extremely close to gunfire, drones and a whole SWAT team. It was scary but Alfred helped make us feel a bit more secure and informed of what was happening around us.

AlfredCamera user

Best Picks of Security Cameras for Apartments

Once you’ve taken the time to consider what features work best for you and your apartment, you’ll be ready to jump into the options available.

Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight

Available from Arlo. From $199.99.

Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight
Image via Arlo

The Arlo Pro 4 is a wireless rechargeable camera that supports up to 2K video with HDR. If the option is available, its magnetic wall mount makes it easy to install anywhere. It will connect to your Wi-Fi for easy setup, and is compatible with Apple HomeKit, Alexa, or Google Assistant.

The discreet spotlight and simulated night vision allows you to observe what’s going on even in low light.

Wyze Cam Pan V2

Available from Wyze. From $39.99

Image via Wyze

Wyze’s Cam Pan V2 shines when it comes to keeping an eye on every nook and cranny of your apartment thanks to its ability to pan horizontally and tilt vertically. The V2 also comes with color night vision, two-way audio, a security siren, free 14-day cloud storage and motion detection.

Wyze will record 12-second clips when it detects motion. If you want longer clips with no breaks in between, or package or pet detection, you’ll have to subscribe for $2 a month. 

Google Nest Cam

Available on Google Store. From $199.

 Google Nest Camera
Image via Google Store

Google’s flagship ‘Nest’ product, the Nest Cam is a battery-operated wireless motion sensor camera. Chic and discreet, it’s suitable for use indoors and outdoors.

As one might expect from Google, its motion sensing goes a step beyond most of its competitors by incorporating facial recognition and other intelligence-based technologies, with the intention being to streamline and automate your home security.

Unfortunately, 24/7 continuous video history requires a ‘Nest Aware Plus’ subscription (and since it’s a security camera, it’s probably wise to record footage), but 24/7 live view is available out of the box.

Nooie Cam 360

Available from Nooie. From $49.99

Image via Nooie

Nooie is a solid choice as far as a good camera goes: accurate motion detection, two-way audio, 1080p video, and two-factor authentication for extra security. 

On the other hand, it doesn’t have any onboard storage, so users will have to subscribe to Nooie’s cloud service or supply their own MicroSD card. Although it is a panning camera, it can’t swivel a complete 360 degrees, and with no smart detection features like pet detection, pet owners can expect unnecessary notifications.

AlfredCamera

Available from the App Store and Google Play Store. Free, with the option for premium.

AlfredCamera

Image via AlfredCamera

Zmodo Pivot

Available from Zmodo. From $59.99

the Zmodo Pivot 1080p Wireless Security Camera.
Image via Zmodo

If an old smartphone isn’t lying around the house, you don’t have to break the bank to get a decent wireless motion sensor camera. Zmodo offers a robust yet inexpensive option for well under a hundred dollars.

The Zmodo Pivot records in up to 1080p, using a wide-angle camera to gain maximum visibility. As the name suggests, Zmodo can ‘pivot’ in 360°, so that when significant motion is detected, you can enable a full sweep of the room recorded in a short clip. Push notifications sent to your phone will then let you see the sweep of the room.

FAQ

Can you put a security camera outside your apartment?

Yes, you can, but it relies on a few strict conditions. Namely, if you’re renting the property, you must not damage the property in any way in accordance with your rental agreement (i.e. by drilling into a wall in order to mount a camera), nor should you invade your neighbor’s privacy by setting up your camera in a way that may record their apartment. Be sure to check with your landlord about any amendments you want to make to your apartment, and always ask neighbors for permission should their property become visible.

Can you put a security system in an apartment? 

Yes. However, if you’re renting the property, you must ensure its installation does not damage the property in any way, unless you’ve discussed this first with your landlord and come to an agreement. Always have confirmation in writing before endeavoring to make changes that may be in violation of your rental agreement. You must also ensure it does not infringe the privacy of your flatmates if you have any.

Can you put a camera in front of your apartment door?

In most places, both a landlord and a tenant are allowed to install a security camera in front of an apartment door. However, if placed by a landlord, it must not observe a full view of the apartment when the door opens as this violates the tenants’ right to privacy. Similarly, a tenant’s camera cannot have full view into a neighboring apartment as this would violate their privacy.

What is considered illegal surveillance? 

Do apartments allow Ring doorbells?

Technically, Ring doorbells are allowed in apartments as long as they don’t invade your neighbors privacy. That being said, many building associations and landlords won’t allow them as they can easily do this. In buildings with apartments in close proximity to one another, they have been found to be capable of picking up private audio and video transmissions from front doors, shared spaces, and even the confines of other apartments.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, while it may not be something people consider often, the security of your home is paramount. As such, maximizing the strength of your home security should be a priority.

When it comes to installing a camera in an apartment, especially one that’s rented, there are many things to consider, legally and materially. Hence, functional, easy to use and cost-efficient devices like AlfredCamera provide an effective tool for ensuring your security and peace of mind.