Should You Give Someone Else Your Home Security Code?
How many times have you gone on vacation or left town for a couple of days and considered giving someone else your home security code? Maybe it’s not even for the reason of leaving your city/town, rather you have a friend or a significant other that you don’t live with who you’ve considered sharing the code. Sure, it can make things easier to give others the code so they can let themselves in or out but is that a smart decision from a security standpoint?
Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of giving someone else your home security code so you can make an informed decision.
Security Companies Typically Advise Against Sharing the Code:
If you’re to ask the experts in the home security industry, chances are they will tell you it’s not advisable to share the security code. Typically they will only recommend giving it to the adults who live in the home. If you are going to share it however, experts recommend each person is assigned an individual code. This will help from a security standpoint as you can view whose code is being used and when.
There should always be a master code for the alarm, which you shouldn’t share. This gives access to all the features of the system. Then there are additional codes or guest codes, which are the ones you can share if need be.
Look Into Whether You Can Restrict the Authorization of Each Code:
This tends to be more common with commercial properties, but it’s still worth looking into whether it’s possible for your home alarm system. You may be able to give out a security code/guest code with restricted use or authorization. This allows you to customize what they can and can’t do with that code. For example, maybe it gives them access to the front door on a particular day of the week and even time of day.
Often this can be a solution for those who want to give out the code but are feeling hesitant. It can work as a compromise. Keep in mind though, it’s not without risks.
Can Be Ideal If People Need to Come into the Home When You Aren’t There:
This leads to the next issue, which is homeowners may need someone to come into the home when they’re not there. This could be someone like a housecleaner, a landscaper who needs access to the interior of the house or the garage, a dog walker and so forth. In these cases it can also be helpful to know what time they arrive and leave so you know they are performing the service/job they have been hired to do.
Take a dog walker as an example. If you can see when they come and go, then you know exactly how long your dog is being walked.
You can use the advice from security experts who suggest giving a different code to each person, this way you can track specific comings and goings of each.
Share the Code While You’re On Vacation:
Another situation you may find yourself in is that you’re going away on holiday so your house will be sitting empty for some time. If it’s an extended holiday then you may have issues like mail building up, packages at the front door, indoor houseplants that need watering and checking all is good inside. You may want to share the code with a neighbor who is a close friend or a nearby family member that can pop in a few times while you’re gone.
In this case, you can temporarily share the code, assigning them one that will be active while you’re gone. They won’t need access to your house once you return, but it can be nice to know someone is checking in while you’re gone.
Alternatively, if you’d rather not provide access, another safer solution is to leave your plants with someone else (assuming they are simple to transport and you don’t have a huge amount) to care for until you return, ensure you don’t have any packages being delivered and arrange for a neighbor to collect your mail and hold on to it until you get home. If you’re concerned about what’s happening inside, install self-monitoring security cameras that you can view remotely on your smartphone. You’ll have all the peace of mind without having to give out your alarm security code.
What About Kids and Teens – Should You Give Them the Code?
Here’s another gray area that is going to be different for each household. Homeowners often wonder when is the right time to give kids and teens the alarm code. There is no set age, rather it is about their maturity level and how responsible they are. Can you trust them to remember the code, not tell others about it, and use it in the right instances? Would they also be able to stay calm and cool if they accidentally set off the alarm while trying to arm/disarm it? Do they know the proper steps to follow?
There are plenty of features on a home alarm system that you can teach tweens and teens in particular, and it’s important they know what the system does, but giving them the code is the next level in understanding and use. You want to be sure they feel comfortable with how to properly use the system first. That means teaching them and giving them lots of practice.
It Doesn’t Have to Be a One-Size Solution:
The final thing to mention is that whatever decision you come to it doesn’t have to apply to all. It’s smart to weigh your options on a case-by-case basis. Maybe it makes sense to give one person the code, but not another. It also doesn’t have to be permanent. If you end up regretting sharing your code with someone else, you can always change it and have peace of mind that it is secure and private again.