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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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

  1. 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?

  1. 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.

5 thoughts on “Four apartment-friendly smart home devices you don’t need landlord approval to install

  1. Please, beware of Two Men and a Truck particularly one of the mover called (Brick) he was rude, unprofessional and did everything in his power to waste my time. I thought they were professionals and very good at what they do. I stayed out of their way so that they can do their job, but I noticed that close to 30 mins had past without anyone moving. I went to see what was the hold up and reminded them that I was on time clock but Brick flared at me, telling me that he will not be rushed, stop the moving and walked off, his manager (Trevor) called me and I believe that he enabled Brick. I had ( 6boxes, bedroom set, sectional, a tv, tv stand a bookshelf) and they took almost 4hrs to pack and unload because (Brick) deliberately delayed me. Yes, I got a discount for $190( 2hrs) but I was all packed and ready. I called Trevor so many times, he kept saying that Brick said I was yelling at him. I started yelling when he stopped and just left. If I was going to exceed 2hrs, it shouldn’t be more than an hour. Brick kept going back and forth with me. I was so upset. I couldn’t believe that he would be so unprofessional. He even refused to carry the dresser mirror, tv, and rug. I had to call Trevor for to get him to move it. I had used two and a truck before and never gone past 3hrs. Trevor their manager even said that if I would not pay for the time, that they would unload the damn truck and leave, his exact words. I would never use them ever again. I don’t even mind spending the money but the customer service was horrible. Brick never apologized and threatened that he will not unload my property unless I sign the agreement. I called Trevor and he insisted that I must sign it before they will move my stuff. I already had a problem with Brick and Trevor only made it worse. The other guy ( Kareem) was courteous and kept trying to talk to Brick but Brick kept going at it. It’s was such a bad experience.

    1. Ifeoma,

      We’re so sorry to hear about this. We would love to speak with you more about your experience. Please contact our corporate customer care team at 1-800-345-1070. Again, we apologize for your recent experience. Have a great day!

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