I recently had a conversation with a friend that was asking what she could do to protect her apartment from a snooping handyman that she believe is entering her home without notice or permission.
One of the most important things you should understand when renting an apartment is your rights to privacy. Most apartment leases will give the ownership the right to enter your apartment without notice at any time of the day if there is an emergency such as a gas leak or a pipe that may have burst. On the other hand your lease should also place limits on when someone can enter when it is not an emergency and a simple dwelling check or maintenance visit is necessary. Normally they must give you some prior notice before entering your home and it might be 24 hours or something similar. If there are no limitations on when they can enter and for what reason I would look for another place to live. If they can enter unannounced at any time of day without notice or limit you are basically living in the lobby of a hotel. You should always have time to gather your personal items to keep them private or to secure valuables and documents you don’t want people looking through.
Using a Spy Camera to Secure your Apartment
In this case the occupant believes that they have a nosy maintenance man but they don’t believe anything has been stolen yet. The important thing here is to get proof of entry and to do so there are a variety of different methods you can employ. However this person is also on a budget so it is important to keep costs down.
The first thing I would do if you are friends with your neighbors is raise your concerns with them and ask if they have had any problems. You don’t want to come out and specifically accuse the management because this will lead to a bad relationship if you are wrong but you might ask your neighbor to keep an eye on your place because you think someone has been coming around and you have no idea who.. then ask them to alert you anytime they see someone enter your home when you are normally at work or when they know you are out of your apartment.
The next thing you can do is make use of your available technology. If you have a webcam on a computer you can set it up to take pictures and video when you are away and upload them to a website. There are free ways to do this if you upload to a Gmail account either email or storage and other places offer free options. You might also want to pay for a service or rent a website from a hosting company for $5 a month. It is important that you use motion detection to limit the amount of uploads and it will require that you have an internet connection.
Another method is to use a dedicated spy camera that looks like an ordinary item in your home. I would suggest this because the intruder may decide to take your computer or laptop but leave that $15 desk clock.
A final method might be to use a alarm system that includes video surveillance. This is a good method if you already have a need to secure your home for reasons of theft and it might reduce your renters insurance if you use one so ask your insurance company. Video and images will be uploaded to your account with the alarm company that you choose for monthly monitoring. You may also be able to login to your online account or use a cellphone app to connect to your cameras and check on your home while you are away even if you haven’t received an email or txt message alerting you of an intruder.
Every situation is different but it is always important that you feel secure in your home. If you feel that management is overstepping their rights or maybe it is a simple break in then you should find a way to remove yourself from the situation immediately.
If someone is entering your home you have the right to report it to the police even if it is management. This puts on record your disapproval which you can then use to break your lease if you find out that criminal activity like harassment is happening.