Apartment Living BlogApartment Living › Sharing a “Smart” Apartment: 6 Do’s and Don’ts for Roommates

With so many flexible solutions out there, home security and home automation technology is now more practical than ever for apartment dwellers. The devices can save you money on utilities, and give you peace of mind if your property manager sends a painting crew in without your knowledge, or your roommate lets a virtual stranger crash on the couch for the night. But putting together the right system becomes more complex when you need to balance the preferences of one or more roommates. These tips will set you off on the right path and help you avoid conflicts as you make your apartment smarter.

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Do: Research Your Options Together

Home security and smart home technology is often very personal. The needs vary from household to household. Take the time to sit down with your roommates and consider your options and needs. Home security companies and internet service providers can provide you with details about their services and products. Remember that what may make one person feel safe (such as a security camera) may feel intrusive to another. This step may require some compromises, especially when it comes to budget and privacy, but it will also ensure that everyone feels safe and secure in your apartment.

Some questions to consider when deciding what will work best for you:

  • Do you have permission from the property manager to replace light switches, locks or thermostats? Can you add mounted hardware? If you can, do you want to have semi-permanent solutions or would you rather focus on portable options, like a security camera placed on a corner tabletop?
  • Do you pay for utilities? Can you save money with smart devices like a connected thermostat?
  • Are there ongoing fees associated with any of the solutions, such as a subscription? If one roommate moves out without an immediate replacement, will the remaining tenant(s) be able to absorb the cost until another roommate is found?

Smarter Roommates 02
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Do: Discuss Ownership and Expenses

While purchasing your smart home and security devices doesn’t have to break the bank, it’s still an investment. Before diving in, make sure to discuss who will pay for which devices. It may seem easier to simply split costs evenly, but it’s important to agree in advance on final ownership if some or all of you move out. If you have a Phillips Hue lighting system, for example, you won’t be able to split up the bulbs in the event of a move. The hub is required to make the bulbs work. 

Do: Get Protection for Your Private Spaces

Once you have chosen your apartment-wide technologies, don’t forget to secure your own private space. Door monitors and cameras can let you know if anyone has entered your room without your permission and can help protect your valuables. You can also use connected bulbs and outlets to control the environment in your room without impacting the rest of the household.

Don’t: Forget to Put it in Writing

This doesn’t need to be a formal legal affair, but you’ll still want to put everything in writing. Outline ownership and what will happen if someone needs to move out or something needs to be repaired. Address things like when and how a roommate can share security codes and passwords with a friend or romantic interest.

Don’t: Neglect to Inform Incoming Roommates

When bringing on new roommates, inform them in advance of any costs associated with your home security system. Make sure they have the appropriate access codes and understand how the system works. Go over the contract with them, make any necessary adjustments, and ask them to agree to it before handing over the key.

Don’t: Keep the Same Codes Year After Year

Your home security system will only be effective if you keep it that way. Don’t forget to change all commonly-used codes when a roommate moves out, no matter how much you trust him or her. Likewise, if you are issuing any guest codes, like for a smart door lock, change them when guests leave, and immediately following any break-ups (even if you might get back together!) and arguments with friends. 

Using smart home and security devices can save you and your roommates money and increase your sense of safety. You can avoid strife by making a plan together and putting it in action before you make your smart purchases.



Your smart home won’t function without a good Wi-Fi solution. Check out these tips for setting up your apartment Wi-Fi


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About :

Christy Matte is a die-hard techie who enjoys video games, surfing the web, and any gadget she can get her hands on, in addition to being a mother to two busy children. She blogs at QuirkyFusion.com and covers home automation, home security, and other related topics for XFINITY Home.

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