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If you live in a condominium, a break-in, fire or other disaster can wreak havoc with your home and possessions, and in a worst-case scenario, it can be deadly for you or your family. Home security systems are not just for single-family homes. Condo owners or renters need home safety too, whether they're in the home or away. 

One of the safest bets would be to choose an inexpensive plan with a home security system company that either provides or sells equipment, monitors your dwelling and what is happening inside, alerts you via email or text, and contacts authorities if something seems seriously amiss. However, you would need to check with your condo association to ensure that this system is permitted and that you would be responsible financially for any false alarms that bring emergency responders to the building.

It is likely that most condo associations would balk at installing a wired home security system, but these days, that is not a problem. Wireless systems are a snap to install, and they work just as well. In fact, many proponents consider them safer than wired systems, since an intruder cannot cut vital communication lines. 

Most condominiums have fewer entrances than single-family houses, so you probably need only a few sensors for such things as unauthorized opening of doors and windows, or motion sensors. Reputable home security monitoring firms can work with you to set up a reasonably priced plan with minimal equipment, but enough devices to note if anyone tries to break in. Stay firm while shopping and resist any hard-sell efforts to upgrade. 

If you are a condo renter, you can check with the condo association or with a home security systems firm to ensure that you get a new and personal entry code so no one who knew the previous occupant’s code can sneak into the building or, worse, into your home. There also are a few simple steps to help you protect your condo that cost little, but go a long way toward keeping you and your loved ones safe. 

DIY Approaches to Condo Security 

Install more fire, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
These are readily available through many retail outlets and operate on batteries. They save lives and are well worth their purchase price and the annual cost of batteries. 

Request permission for a front door with a viewing hole.
Ask your condo association to let you install a door with a small peephole so you can see who is there. This is a simple and reasonable safety precaution, and you should meet with no resistance to do it if you foot the bill. 

Get automatic timers for lights.
If you are away, these can trick would-be burglars from breaking in, since they would suspect someone is at home. The key is to reprogram them often, or have a friend do it if you are on vacation, so that they turn lights on and off at different times. 

Condo owners and renters, take heart. You have some relatively simple and inexpensive choices for securing your home that you can put into place as quickly as within this week.

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