Updated March 5, 2022 . AmFam Team
Renting a house, apartment or condo is becoming an increasingly popular long-term option for younger adults. According to Trulia, some 41 percent of U.S. households were renters in the past five years.
Combine that with the already popular “smart” products many younger consumers enjoy. These are products that connect, communicate and share information. Smart product integrations are a growing trend in smart home technology for renters. Thankfully, this huge segment of the population can enjoy the benefits of home automation just like homeowners do.
Products like the Amazon Echo, or Ring’s video doorbell and security cameras, and Philips’ Hue lighting system, just to name a few, are smart products designed to setup quickly, easily and without much (if any) impact on your rental. Whether you’re waiting for the perfect home or looking to ease into a more relaxed living situation, there are several smart home options available for the place you call your own.
Smart home technology can be thought of as “home automation.” Smart homes typically rely on a Wi Fi connection to the Internet, to communicate with compatible devices. A smart home in a rental apartment is no different than a smart home in a space you own.
What this does is allow a user access to controls from many devices consumers already own, from virtually any location.
Here are some of the more common smart home products:
One quick way to get started with home security for renters is by purchasing a smart video camera. They’re cameras that can do everything from monitoring a package delivered to your front porch to screening visitors via smartphone.
Property managers prefer this kind of smart home tech because they also actively connect into smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, among other smart home tech. Early warning systems like these are capable of alerting first responders when trouble is sensed and that can help save lives and limit property damage.
The convenience doesn’t stop there, either! By upgrading to a video doorbell, you’ll be able to see who’s outside without even opening the door. When paired with a smart lock, landlords can unlock the door if you ever forget your keys.
Setup will require some drilling, so be sure to get the green light from your landlord first. Other versions of these cameras offer indoor monitoring. They're easy to set up with some products using magnetic or suction cup mounts so you don't have to drill into the wall.
Smart plugs and outlets are becoming popular as well. With the ability to power on and off lights remotely — or randomly — renters can make it look like they’re home while away.
And smart thermostats are saving renters money throughout the year. Tenants are seeking out homes with the ability to remotely adjust the temperature — so they’re able to program their thermostat and keep costs down all year long.
If you're looking for a great way to streamline apartment living, you might want to take advantage of personal virtual assistant apps and technology. Most of the well-known smart devices, like Google Home, Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa, can execute commands across your home.
Now you can order a pizza or host an impromptu trivia contest with their help. And, if you need fast facts before work, they provide real-time information about news, traffic and weather.
They also work with new smart home appliances. Specifically, home hubs like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa work in tandem with smart wireless speakers. Likewise, Apple offers similar voice-controlled convenience, but without the need for a wireless smart speaker. With the Apple’s HomePod, you can control connected devices around your apartment.
Let’s say you enter your apartment with an armful of groceries. By delivering voice commands to Apple Siri (Opens in a new tab) or Amazon Alexa (Opens in a new tab), asking to "turn on the lights," you can make your entrance easier by lighting up the entry — hands-free — through voice control. A quick way to get started with smart home automation is with one of the bundled starter kits manufacturers have on the market.
As an example, for about $160, Philips Hue offers color options for the smart bulbs that allow you to personalize your space and turn your living room into a fine-tuned mood room. Such a kit will include a bridge — the brains of your lighting system, allowing control of up to 50 lights and accessories — and three smart light bulbs. Setup is usually quick and intuitive.
Before you purchase smart lights and other connected devices for your apartment, make sure they're compatible with whatever virtual personal assistant you're using.
Renters have a lot of options for experiencing the best of home automation. Best of all, you can take it with you when you leave.
Now that you know how to make smart home tech work for your rental space, be sure to check in with your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) and request a renters insurance quote (Opens in a new tab).
Whether you rent or own, make your home a smart home for greater convenience and stronger peace of mind.
This article is for informational purposes only and includes information widely available through different sources.