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Given the popularity of renting among tech-savvy young professionals, it’s no surprise that people are asking for more information about using video doorbells in rented properties.
In this guide, we’ll break down the key points to consider and give some advice on using a video doorbell without upsetting the landlord or your neighbours.
- Installing a Video Doorbell in a Rented Property
- Video Doorbells and Neighbours Privacy
- Best Video Doorbells for Renters
- How to Install Video Doorbell Without Drilling
Installing a Video Doorbell in a Rented Property
Yes, even as a tenant in a rented flat, apartment or house you can usually install a video doorbell. However, there are some key things to bear in mind that you might not consider when installing one in an owned property.
Here are the key issues you may face:
Your Landlord or Letting Agency: A video doorbell can be considered a security device and most landlords are happy for you to install such devices for the duration of your tenancy. If they are not happy with this, it must be stated in your tenancy agreement so it may be worth having a check.
Leaving a Mark: Whilst most landlords won’t object to a video doorbell, you are usually required to leave the property in the same state you found it. This means that you cannot go drilling holes or installing extra cabling and you will need to remove the doorbell when you move out without leaving any traces.
Your Neighbours: If you live in an apartment building, chances are that your front door faces another apartment so you need to consider your neighbours privacy. Some neighbours will be thrilled at you installing extra security that could also benefit them in the case of a break in. However, others may not be so thrilled at a camera facing their front door. We’ll share some steps you can take to address privacy concerns below.
Motion Detection: Video doorbells rely on motion detection in order to activate recordings and send you a notification that someone is at your door. This is another area where flats are no ideal as you will often have lots of people passing your door in order to access their flats. You can usually adjust the sensitivity and set motion detection zones, however when people are walking right past your door on a regular basis, even the most advanced devices will struggle.
Video Doorbells and Neighbours Privacy
As mentioned above, your neighbour’s privacy may be an issue with a security camera facing right at their front door or recording them as they walk past.
Here are three steps you can take to help with this:
- First and foremost, we recommend that you approach them and explain how the doorbell works. Once they understand that recording is only activated when the doorbell is pressed or motion is detected within a certain distance of your door, they may be more comfortable.
- If you have a Ring doorbell, you can access a feature called ‘privacy zones’ which allows you to black out certain parts of the camera, you could put a big black box over the part with your neighbours door.
- A final step you could take is to use a device where the doorbell and the camera are separate, you can place the camera up high and angle it down at your doorstep instead of having it face directly out. The Arlo audio doorbell and camera is an ideal choice – more details on this device below.
Best Video Doorbells for Renters
Here are three doorbells that we recommend for renters:
1. Ring Doorview Camera – Best Option
If you already have a peephole on your door, this cam can easily be installed in it’s place without the need for any screws. It comes with a handy tool to remove the old peep hole and you simply push the doorbell through the hole and attach the front on the other side.
The features and pricing is similar to the standard second generation doorbell which includes live view, two way audio, motion detection and the added benefit of knock detection. It will work nicely with Alexa and Google Home, especially if you have smart speakers which can be used as a door chime.
On the downside, there is no local storage at all, so you will need to purchase a cloud storage subscription from ring in order to access all the features.
Reasons why it’s great for renters:
- Can be installed without drilling any holes or leaving any trace afterwards keeping the landlord or letting agency happy.
- Access to Ring’s ‘privacy zones’ feature to block out your neighbour’s door if they are worried about privacy.
2. Eufy Video Doorbell (Battery Powered Version)
Although a late comer to the video doorbell market, Eufy have quickly gained popularity thanks to their offering that doesn’t require any ongoing subscription to access the full feature set. They also have outstanding video quality with 2k resolution and integration with Alexa and Google Home.
Reasons why it’s great for renters:
- Video footage is stored on the base hub that’s kept inside, if your doorbell is stolen you will still have the footage, including the footage of it being stolen.
- Uses a bespoke low-energy wireless communication protocol instead of WiFi, this means the battery lasts much longer than other battery powered doorbells.
3. Arlo Audio Doorbell and Camera (Sold Separately)
Taking a slightly different approach, the Arlo doorbell is audio only, however it can easily be synced with any of the Arlo cameras giving you optimal control over your front door.
The combination of audio doorbell and camera provides everything you would normally get from a video doorbell, including notifications when someone is at your door and live view with two way audio.
On top of that, it has some extra benefits including free cloud storage for 7 days and the option for visitors to leave messages if you aren’t in.
Reasons why it’s great for renters:
- The doorbell and the camera are separate, allowing you to place the camera in a position that will give the neighbours their privacy and minimise accidental motion detection.
- Battery powered so no cabling to install
How to Install Video Doorbell Without Drilling
If you opt for the Ring Doorview camera, your installation will be hassle free. However, if you choose one of our other suggestions, you’ll still need a way to fit your video doorbell that won’t leave your landlord unhappy.
If you have an existing doorbell, the cleanest option is to remove that and place the video doorbell in it’s place, upon moving out you’ll be able to put the old doorbell back with no problem.
If you have no existing doorbell, the best way to attach a video doorbell to a rented property is using a sticky tape as shown in this video. However, I’d recommend opting for no more nails removable outdoor sticky pads to leave a clean finish when you move out. These have been designed to hold up to 2kg per strip so two of these will securely hold a doorbell in place with ease.
We hope you’ve found this guide useful and recommend checking out some of our other posts about video doorbells.