Technically, it’s perfectly legal to install your own security system without getting a home alarm permit. However, activating and operating the system is another matter. If you’re planning on any kind of remote monitoring or emergency response features, many local governments require you to have an alarm permit. And even without any monitoring, a loud alarm can result in fines if you don’t have the proper alarm permit.

A home alarm permit is mandatory for residents of many major cities and counties, mainly to address the issue of false alarms. Many of the laws date back a decade or more when home security systems and monitoring services were less sophisticated and homeowners less familiar with them.

Alarm permits were introduced as a way to reduce the number of false alarms, and the unnecessary distraction and expense they caused police and fire departments.

Some localities have a single alarm permit, regardless of the type of alarm, while others make a distinction between fire, police or combined fire and police alarm permits. For example, if you only have a monitored smoke detector, you may only need the fire alarm permit. If you have a complete monitored security system (including smoke detectors), you may need a single permit that covers everything, or separate fire and police alarm permits if there is no combined option.

Alarm permits are granted on either a one-time basis or subject to yearly renewal, depending on local laws. A waiver may be given in a few circumstances, such as if you’re over a certain a