This is a guest blog post from the content team at Esurance.
Smart home tech is in high demand and for good reason — it makes life a bit simpler, safer, and more convenient. There are smartphone apps and connected devices that can control just about everything in a home, from the outdoor watering system to the kitchen appliances to the garage door. But if you rent your place, it’s easy to feel left out of the smart home movement, since you often need landlord approval before installing anything.
But renters, take heart! You can still have smart home technology in your apartment — you just have to know which devices to get. The key is to stick to gadgets that don’t require installation and can be brought with you when you move out. Here, we explore some of the best smart home devices for renters.
- Smart Security
Chances are, you’re not permitted to change permanent fixtures like locks and electrical wiring if you’re renting your home (unless you have landlord approval). Luckily, there are many affordable, smart plug-and-play security devices that can provide increased security for your rental.
The best news for renters? Smart locks are getting, well, smarter. Look for products that install over your pre-existing deadbolt so you can avoid having to get landlord approval to use them. The locks should also allow you to use your regular landlord-issued key to enter the apartment.
Additionally, monitoring devices like smart security cameras and motion sensors can be set up in windows to detect (and deter) potential intruders. While they’ll send you a smartphone alert if they notice unusual activity, keep in mind that those alerts aren’t monitored by the authorities. If you receive a phone notification, it’s up to you to call the police.
- Smart Switches
Though you may not be able to re-wire smart switches into your apartment, you can purchase a smart switch and avoid the hassle. These plug into your existing outlets and offer Wi-Fi connectivity. You can plug anything from your appliances to your lamps into a smart switch and control them from your smartphone. This is not only convenient, but can also help improve the safety of your place. Forgot to turn off the oven? Now you can switch it off from wherever you are with a tap to your smartphone
- Smart Lightbulbs
Yep, even lightbulbs can be smart these days. Smart LED lightbulbs are as easy to install as any old run-of-the-mill bulbs, but they can be set to turn on when your doorbell rings or your security alarm goes off. Some can even function as Bluetooth speakers and can be voice-controlled through a smart home hub or virtual assistant. Many are even equipped with batteries so they stay on during a power outage. Who thought lightbulbs could have so many functions?
- Smart Vents
Thought things couldn’t get any techier than smart lightbulbs? Think again! Portable smart devices are taking over the market, so much so that you can now purchase technology that attaches to often-overlooked areas of your apartment like your vents. A removable smart device helps regulate the air flow in your rental by allowing all the vents to “talk” to one another.
Is your bedroom always freezing while the rest of your place is perfectly comfortable? Smart vents will communicate with each other to optimize your heating and cooling settings depending on which room you’re in. Plus, they can save you some money on your utility bill. How’s that for a win-win?
No matter what changes you’re looking to make to your apartment, it’s a good idea to read through your rental agreement before installing anything, just to be safe. And in the ever-changing market of smart home devices, it’s also beneficial to do your research to see what kinds of devices are available and compatible with your place. Now that there are so many renter-friendly options, you can use smart home technology to make apartment life simpler, safer and less expensive.
Jon Snyder is a Product Manager at Esurance, overseeing countrywide design of property insurance products. Jon has over 25 years of industry experience in product management, design and management roles as well as claims roles at Esurance and other major industry carriers.