The cost of rent in the U.S. is quite expensive. The average rent is about $980 for a one-bedroom apartment located in the heart of the city and is about $760 for a one-bedroom apartment located outside of the city center. If you're a student or are already having problems making ends meet, you may benefit from having a roommate. Although having a roommate can help free up your finances, it comes with an extra risk of sharing a place with someone else. Here are 3 ways you can protect yourself.

Have a Separate Lock for Your Own Room

If your room doesn't already have a lock, speak to a locksmith immediately and get one. Having a separate lock for your own room will prevent unauthorized access by your roommate and anyone they might invite over. Although you have many options to choose from, grade 1 or grade 2 deadbolts offer the most security, as they are designed to resist almost all lock picking attempts like twisting and prying.

Although you have a right to install a separate lock for your own room, you should notify your landlord before you proceed. Depending on city and state laws, you may be required to provide a copy of the key to your room to your landlord for safety and security reasons.

Keep All Valuables in a Safe

Just in case an intruder is able to gain unauthorized access into your room, make sure that there is nothing valuable lying around that can be stolen. It may be difficult for you to determine who stole your valuables, and you don't want to put yourself in a situation where you are just pointing fingers and making accusations without any evidence.

There are many different types of safes designed for residential purposes. In-floor safes are the most inconspicuous and difficult to break into. You want to make sure to choose a safe that is tool resistant, torch resistant and fire resistant. Getting the safe professionally installed isn't too expensive, and will roughly cost around $800. Taking into account the monetary worth of your valuables, getting a safe may be much cheaper.

Install Surveillance Cameras for Your Room

Even though you have to respect the privacy of your roommates, there is nothing wrong with installing surveillance cameras in your room to monitor everything that happens. Surveillance cameras will give you a detailed account of who the culprit is should anything happen and how everything unfolded. Since your room is your own personal space, you are free to install surveillance cameras and other monitoring devices. Once again, you may have to notify your landlord before you proceed.

Speak with a residential security company to determine the type of surveillance cameras that are permitted in your city and state. In addition, consider whether the feed will be transmitted wirelessly and saved through cloud storage or whether the feed will be recorded on computer hardware stored in your room. Naturally, the former option tends to be more secure, as computer hardware containing the feed can be destroyed or even stolen if the intruder knows where to look.


On top of these 3 security features, be diligent when screening potential roommates. It's important to look at their criminal history, and to actually call the references they have listed to verify their character. Depending on whether you live in an apartment or a condo, and whether your room is close to the ground floor, there are many additional security services that many residential security companies can offer. Getting a roommate may help lower your rent significantly, but you should consider the risks involved before making a decision. To learn more about your security options, click here for more info.