Many property owners are surprised to find that they are subject to many restrictions on what they can do with and on their property. Most local authorities require homeowners or other building owners to obtain permission from the city or municipality before taking certain actions, such as laying in a pool or installing a fence.
If you have ever tried to make changes to your home, you know that it is important to get the necessary permits to avoid fines or a stop order. This is not only the case with major remodeling projects, but also – in many cases – if you want to install an alarm system or a home security system.
Whether you need an alarm permit or not depends on both where you live and the type of security system you hope to install. But you absolutely must find out if a permit is required before you start installing your system so that you can comply with the law.
When do I need permission to install a home security system?
There are a few different circumstances where you may need a permit for a home security system:
- You may need a permit if you do electrical work to install your system.
- Emergency departments – such as the police or sheriff’s department and the fire department – may require an alarm permit for emergency services to respond to alarms on your premises.
If you choose a self-monitored alarm system that simply sends you an alarm instead of alerting alarm services about problems, you may not need the other type of alarm permission. However, if installing your system requires you to perform some electrical work, you probably need the first type, even if you are doing the job. This is one of the reasons why many DIY home security systems work on WiFi instead of requiring hard wires – if you just install a WiFi system, you do not need to run electrical wires.
Third-party monitoring systems, on the other hand, send a signal to the security company that provides the monitoring service. The security company will then try to contact you, and unless it can confirm a false alarm, it will notify emergency services personnel such as police, fire department or first responders. If you have a third-party monitoring service – whether you have installed it yourself or had a security company install it – chances are good you need an alarm permit so emergency services can respond when a problem arises.
Learn more about supervised vs non-supervised systems
In many places, you actually need more than one permit. You may need a separate permit from the police and fire department, for example. And these specialized alarm permits would all be different from any permit required for the electrical work required to install your system.
Do the rules for alarm permission differ by location?
Different municipalities set their own rules for when permits are required, so the rules can vary not only by state, but also from one county to the next. This means that if you are moving to a nearby city, you may need an alarm permit even if you did not need one in your previous home.
How can you tell if you need an alarm permit?
Since the rules are set locally, you can not just search the Internet for “do you need permission for an alarm security system” and expect to get the right answer to your question. You will need to check the laws in your area.
One way to find out if you need an alarm permit is to call your local emergency services. You should look up the non-emergency number for the police and fire station and call them to ask for permission rules. You can also find details about your local permit laws on the website of your city or municipality.
Does an alarm permit expire?
Alarm permits expire in some places. If your permit expires, you must renew it before the deadline – which may mean paying an additional fee. Once you have renewed your permit, be sure to notify your security company if you have a system that uses third-party monitoring.
What if you do not have a required alarm permit?
If you do not have an alarm permit, emergency services may not respond to your property when your security company is notified of a problem. Or you could be fined if your unauthorized security system is detected.
If you were not allowed to do electrical work, you may need to remove unauthorized wires if it is not up to code in your area. You will usually also be assessed as a fine for performing work without permission.
What is the difference between an alarm permit and an alarm license?
A permit gives you permission to install or operate an alarm in your own home. In contrast, a license is required for professional alarm companies that install security systems in the homes of others.
You do not need an alarm license to do the installation of a simple security system in your own home, but you will probably need a permit if you are doing electrical work as part of the installation or if the system you are installing comes with third party monitoring services and emergency services require permits as a result.
Check before installing a security system
If you need an alarm permit, be sure to get one before you start working on your security system or before your security system is up and running. The last thing you need is for first responders not to come to your home if your security company calls them – or to be fined just for trying to protect your home and family.
This article has been reviewed and approved by Officer Banta.
Officer Banta is the official security expert in the field of home security and safety. As a member of the Biloxi Police Department for over 24 years, Officer Banta reviews all articles before giving his stamp of approval. Click here for more information on Officer Banta and the rest of our team.