A home security system is the best solution for new homeowners who want to protect their belongings and loved ones, but many people who are looking into getting a home alarm system don’t know all of the requirements, including documentation and permits. Oftentimes, those in the market for a security system are left to wonder: do you need a permit for a home security system?
The short answer is yes; you do need an alarm permit. To learn more about why there are permit requirements for home security systems and how to get one, read the details we included in this article.
Why Permits are Required
The reason that alarm systems require permits is because of false alarms. If the police and fire department’s emergency services respond to a false alarm at a house without a permit, time and resources are taken away from real emergencies. Having a current and up-to-date permit communicates to emergency services that your alarm systems are not prone to false alarms, and thus, they will respond faster to triggered alarms. You can also have your permit revoked for false alarms or for failing to renew your alarm permit. The local municipality will also charge homeowners false alarm fines whether you do or do not have a permit.
The fine will depend on your local government. In Houston, the first three false alarms for burglars and panic alarms do not come with fees, but the fourth and fifth false alarms cost $50; the sixth and seventh are $75; each additional afterward is $100. If you do not hold a permit, you are responsible for paying higher fees for false alarms. Burglar false alarms are $116.75, while panic false alarms are $308.21 per incident.
However, permit requirements are different, depending on where you live and what alarms you have. Houston requires “all residents and businesses operating, using, causing[,] or allowing the operation or use of a burglar and/or panic alarm system” to have an alarm permit. Check with your local government on requirements.
How to Get a Permit
The good news is that the process of getting an alarm permit is super easy. Many local municipalities have recognized the ease and convenience of digitizing their process. For residents and businesses in the City of Houston, you can get everything needed for your permit at www.houstonburglaralarmpermits.org.
There are also usually options to fill in an alarm permit application and send it in by mail or submit it in person.
The permit also needs to be renewed every year, and thankfully, the city should send you a renewal notice. Houston residents should receive the renewal notice 45 days before the expiration date.
You will also need to pay a fee with your alarm permit application or renewal. It will depend on your local municipality; the costs generally range from $25 to $100. The City of Houston charges $50 for both the initial fee and renewal of residential burglar alarm permits. Non-residential alarm sites in Houston pay a fee of $122.07 for only a burglar or panic/holdup alarm and $244.14 for a burglar and panic/holdup combination.
Maintaining a Home Security System
You can install a home security system on your own, but you are responsible for ensuring the maintenance of the alarm system and minimizing the number of false alarms. Remember, you will receive a fine from the local government if your alarm system is triggered when there is no emergency.
Here are five steps you can take to be a responsible citizen and eliminate false alarms:
- Add additional users to your account. If you have an alarm that can be disabled remotely, add your emergency contacts to the account so they can help you quickly disarm the system.
- Educate all residents of the home. Each member of the household should be familiar with how to arm and disarm the alarm system.
- Utilize guest passwords. If you have a cleaning service or pet sitter, many systems allow you to set temporary passwords that will expire, protecting your information and reducing instances of the alarm being triggered.
- Add the monitoring company’s number to your contacts. Many alarm systems come with monitoring services, and having that number saved makes it easy to cancel a false alarm before police and fire departments or other emergency services arrive.
- Set motion sensor sensitivity. If your alarm system has a motion sensor, consider lowering the sensitivity level if there is high traffic in the area.
Solving Your Everyday Needs
Do you need a permit for a home security system? Yes, alarm permits are required by local governments because it helps efforts to reduce the number of false alarms. You can take care of installing and maintaining your alarm systems on your own, but you increase the risk of triggering a false alarm if not done properly. It’s best to consult with security alarm professionals to not only get the right alarms properly installed but also additional services to keep your peace of mind.
If you are looking for a company to help protect your home or business, Mesa Alarm Systems has been serving The City of Houston and surrounding areas since 1990. Have peace of mind that our advanced burglary, fire alarm, access control, and video systems will deliver the security you need when it matters most. Our central station staff monitors security concerns 24/7, 365 days a year. Request an appointment today to feel more confident tomorrow.