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Rental Security

Security of your home is an important matter, not to be taken lightly. When you are a tenant, your landlord is legally obliged to retain a key for entry into your rented unit and you are not allowed to have the locks changed without providing a new key for entry. While there are applicable laws pertaining to illegal entry of landlords into the rental units of their tenants without proper notice or good cause, you still want to be vigilant and make sure that your home is secure.

The abuse of entry privileges on the part of the landlord is commonly known as "illegal entry" and defined in most states rental laws as such. Normally, illegal entry would apply if the landlord came in for no good reason while you were away just to snoop around or perhaps came by when you were at home demanding access without good reason. Normally these 'good reasons' would have to fall into the emergency category otherwise the law provides that a certain amount of notice be given to the tenant as to when the landlord intends to make entry and for what reason.

The bottom line is that your landlord needs your permission to enter your home for any reason other than an emergency situation that would require immediate repairs (such as a broken pipe) and cannot just walk in whenever they wish.

If you suspect your landlord is entering your apartment while you are out, snooping your things or perhaps trying to come up with a good reason to make you pay for requested repairs instead of them paying for it, there's a few things that you can do quite easily to determine whether or not someone's entered the house or apartment.  If you don't readily have a camera to set up discreetly, one of the oldest tricks in the book is to tape a single hair across a door frame and close the door so that if the door is opened, the hair will be broken. Of course, it has to be placed somewhere near the top part of the door or the bottom where it won't be noticed readily otherwise you run the risk of someone catching onto the idea that you have figured out what they are doing.

If you do have a camera, you can quite easily rig it up with a program called DorGem to act like a motion activated security device. The catch is that you will need a computer or laptop that is connected to the internet nearby and also for your setup to be discreet enough so that no one will suspect that they are being captured on video. The program is motion activated. Whenever the camera sees motion, it begins recording video footage to the hard drive of the computer. Additionally, you can specify an e-mail address where still shots from the video clip will be sent at the same time. This will serve you well if your target does happen to realize that they are on video while they are in you house and decide that they need to do away with the evidence. They can take your computer, trash it, burn it, beat it, whatever...kill the internet connection. Nine times out of ten, it will already be too late at that point because you will have enough dated time stamped still shots from the video to positively identify the individual and these will be sitting securely in your specified e-mail account inaccessible by the targeted individual.

It is always a wise idea to keep a digital camera handy both for the purpose of documenting needed repairs, damages and other rental events but mainly for the purpose of shooting video to protect yourself. Landlords are an interesting group of individuals. Most are money hungry and so greedy that they would rather see their rental unit go consistently downhill while they collect massive amounts of your money in rental income than put some of that money back into the unit for upkeep and maintenance. Whenever a landlord realizes that they may have to spend money to make repairs they tend to get upset about that and behave badly. This is what you want on video--your landlord behaving badly. This is where the digital or video camera comes in. If possible, set up multiple cameras in different rooms, disguise them as best you can. These cameras won't operate on standby motion detection so you will have to just keep them ready to switch on and off manually if you suspect your landlord may stop by.

This is always a good choice if you are in a conflict with your landlord or perhaps you have reason to believe that your landlord may engage in retaliatory action. The bottom line is that you need to protect yourself. Do not allow a landlord to ambush you in your own home, harass you and tell you something is your fault when it isn't. Do not let them threaten to raise your rent if you complain about something. You're already paying hard earned enormous amounts of money to this slime for sub par living...keep that in mind.

Placement of your camera is crucial in the plan. A camera should be positioned in such a way so that it has a clear shot of your main entry door. This is likely where your landlord will confront you rather than actually coming inside your house unless of course you invite them in. Next, it's always a good idea if you don't have a well lit room to flip on the interior light BEFORE you open the door. This way, the camera will have more even lighting especially if your apartment only has one window in the main entry way. You won't get that bright spot in the camera for as long if you even out the lighting. This trick should be applied day or night.

Make a practice of keeping blinds closed, at least where the main entry is concerned. This way if you need to place a camera or turn one on, you are less likely to be spotted doing so by the landlord. You do not want the landlord to know they are being taped.

Try to keep yourself out from in front of the camera but at the same time, try to keep your landlord far enough away from the camera so that they cannot grab it and run. This one won't be connected to a PC anywhere and thus will not transmit images to any email account you can access later.