How to Update Home Security When Someone Moves Out

It's not easy when someone leaves your life, whether it’s a longtime roommate heading out on good terms or a former spouse looking to burn bridges. But, as you should expect, their decision to leave doesn't mean they need to retain access to the security system and smart home equipment they're leaving behind. So here are some ways you can take control of your equipment.

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Who owns what?

The first step you should take is determining ownership of devices and service plans, particularly on joint accounts. Unless you're going through a rocky divorce, this is relatively easy to accomplish. Since you're staying in the house, you should insist that everything the other party owns go with them.

Removing users

Security systems are a bit trickier to remove if there's an active monitoring subscription, so let's run through some steps you can take for your system.

When you can't easily uninstall a joint security system to go with the person leaving, you'll need to transfer full ownership and administrative access to yourself. You can arrange this by calling the security company overseeing your monitoring contract.

After gaining administrative access to the system, you should do four things:

  • Change your system's mobile app password and the password on the email account you use for your system, especially if the person leaving knows either. (It doesn't hurt to change other shared passwords as well.)
  • Remove the former occupant's mobile app access from your security system. This ensures that they can't see the status of your system, security camera feeds, or secretly change your settings.
  • Change all access codes and alarm safewords—including your own—to prevent access via a control panel, keypad, or smart lock. While learning a new access code takes a bit of effort, it prevents someone accessing the system you own without permission. While you're at it, check that your system has the latest software updates.
  • Remove users from other smart devices like smart speakers, thermostats, security cameras, and smart lighting. (Don't forget to change the password on your Wi-Fi network.)
Extenuating circumstances

Suppose the person is leaving with less-than-amicable feelings and refuses to give up account access (and you're unable to remove them yourself). In that case, the security company is your only recourse. Most companies will work with you to adjust or cancel your contract under extenuating circumstances.

Removing equipment

After the person moves out, take time to look through every nook and cranny of your home (and car) for devices they left behind—keep an eye out for common hidden camera designs. If you find a device you don't recognize, make sure to unplug it or remove the battery. Don't reset or throw the device away, as it can be useful if you need to file a police report or petition for a restraining order.

If you're curious about the laws surrounding hidden cameras, we have a quick guide on our nanny cam review that's worth checking out.

Check your phone and computer

Remove apps that you don't recognize or use, especially if they have GPS location tracking. Also, don't forget to remove all of the person's logins from your device that might give them remote access to your accounts and data.

John Carlsen
Written by
John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist specializing in smart home devices, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over nine years of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech—he was the Smart Home Editor for Top Ten Reviews and wrote for ASecureLife before joining SafeWise as a Staff Writer in 2020. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.

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