Alarm System Takeovers

    The term “takeover” describes the process by which a new alarm company takes over the monitoring of an alarm system from another company.  This process involves reprogramming a monitored system so that it dials the new alarm company central monitoring center.  However, some alarm systems are not reprogrammable and will require a new keypad and control panel (the brains of a security system) to make a workable alarm system.

    Most alarm monitoring relationships between an alarm company and its subscribers involve a contract of from one to five years.  However, many alarm subscribers are on a month to month basis and are not contractually bound to the alarm company monitoring their system.  Alarm subscribers without a contract can cancel their service without any penalties and are free to move to another alarm monitoring company, provided they either own the alarm system, or if they don’t, are going to replace it.  If the alarm subscriber is leasing or renting the system, the alarm company owning the equipment has the right to remove it from their former customer.

    Alarm companies cannot take over another alarm company’s subscribers under contract, unless there are justifiable legal reasons which invalidate the contract.  Alarm subscribers that break an alarm monitoring contract without just cause, are usually subject to financial penalties by the former alarm company.

    Most alarm companies have an automatic renewal clause which goes into effect immediately after the termination date of the contract.  The renewal term is usually for one to five years and it’s not necessary for alarm subscribers to sign a new contract.
    These contracts usually require the alarm subscriber to provide the alarm company with a thirty to ninety day notice of cancellation prior to the expiration date of the contract.  It’s important for subscribers to give written notice of their intent to cancel to the current alarm company prior to the specified renewal date, so the contract does not automatically renew.

    Before allowing a new alarm company to do a “takeover”, alarm subscribers should read their contract to see if it has expired, or automatically renewed and who owns the alarm system.