Are Burglar Bars Legal?

Are Burglar Bars Legal?

Home security is important for any home, and between wireless security cameras and window alarms, it’s easy to set up a DIY system that works for you. If you’re particularly worried about the lower levels on your home, burglar bars are one popular way to stop someone from breaking in. But are burglar bars legal? Let’s take a look at how burglar bars are used and what to know about potential restrictions.

Burglar Bar Basics

Burglar bars are relatively thin metal beams that fit either vertically or horizontally over your window to prevent someone from getting in. The bars are too close together to squeeze through and they’re affixed to your home so strongly that a would-be intruder would need major tools to remove them. Bars are often painted the same color as the exterior of the homes so they blend in. Burglar bars are sometimes called window security bars, so if you’re looking into local laws you should also search under that term. 

Risks and Benefits of Burglar Bars

The obvious benefit of a burglar bar is that your home won’t be an easy target for someone who wants to quickly access a targeted home through the window. However, for all their home security benefits, burglar bars also mean it’s harder for you to get out of your home from the inside. In cases of emergency where you can’t exit via the door, you may not be able to escape through a window if there are burglar bars installed. The U.S. Fire Administration warns against the risk of death due to burglar bars that don’t have a mechanism for opening from the inside. The fire hazards related to burglar bars have brought about new legal implications for using this security measure on your home. 

Understanding Burglar Bar Law

Because people have been trapped inside apartments and houses during a fire due to burglar bars, some states are beginning to regulate the types of bars that are used. In Mississippi, California, and Texas, there are specific laws about what warnings must be placed on burglar bars and where they can be installed. In California, for instance, burglar bars can’t be used on a building that is owned or leased by a public agency. The state also updated the California Building Standards Code in 2008 to mandate that security release mechanisms be used on all security bars. In Texas, all burglary bars must also have a mechanism for interior release. 

In short, burglar bars are not illegal, but your state may have specific rules about the type you can use. You should also document the types of bars you install. In California, all real estate contracts must disclose any release mechanisms on window burglar bars.

Burglar Bars for Renters

Putting bars on windows is ultimately the responsibility of the entity that owns a building. It may be illegal for you to put bars on the windows of your rental property, depending on the terms of your lease. Many rental contracts prohibit structural changes or major renovations, so you should always check with your landlord if you’re considering adding burglary bars to your home. 

If you’re looking for a way to improve the security on your home, doorbell cameras, alarms, and floodlights are some good home security solutions to start with. If you still feel wary about your window security, burglary bars may be a good addition. With the addition of an emergency release mechanism, a security bar can keep intruders out while maintaining fire code safety. If you still have questions about self-protection products, contact The Home Security Superstore today to learn more about our array of products and systems.