How smart technology is giving landlords peace of mind04 May 2023 | News
Smart Homes For Savvy Landlords
There’s no denying that technology has transformed our day-to-day lives in countless different ways, so you won’t be surprised to hear about the growing generation of private landlords who are making full use of smart home technology to transform their businesses too.
Smart home devices save us money, time, reduce energy usage, and make homeownership easier, safer, and more fun too! You might be surprised to hear that smart technology isn’t a new invention. As far back as 1967 the ECHO IV was controlling the home’s temperature and turning appliances on and off. Obviously, we’re a little further along these days, with smart home technology that’s easy to install and available to all. If you’re curious about how smart technology could transform your rental business then read on to find out how making your rental home a smart one can attract more tenants, save you money and help you sleep better at night.
Why Bother Making Your Rental Properties Smart?
The demand for smart home devices is a rapidly growing business, so much so that experts have coined the term IoRE – or Internet of Real Estate – to describe the booming market. It’s estimated to be worth $75 billion by 2025. You might well shrug off smart home devices, as you already have a fire alarm that works perfectly or lights that really don’t need to be automated, but every single year smart home technology is improving, and savvy landlords are building their businesses with modern tenants in mind.
The ultimate question though – will tenants pay higher rent to live in a smart home property? You are running a business after all! If making your property more desirable to potential renters isn’t persuasive enough, then you’ll want to know if making your rental property a smart one will mean you can charge more rent. A survey amongst UK renters found that they would be happy to shell out an extra £1,178 in rent a year for a home that has integrated smart features. When examining renters living in the Greater London area, where the average tenant pays £1,919 pcm, this jumps to an extra £2,302 a year..
For investors renting to millennials, the potential increase in rental income could be even higher. Millennial renters were willing to pay more for a smart dwelling, suggesting that smart properties will only become more and more desirable over time. This is good news for tech-smart landlords who are keeping their homes up to date with the latest security devices.
Don’t get left behind – take a look at the top smart devices for your rental business below.
Smart meters are designed to replace your old gas and electric meters and they do the same job but with extra connectivity. You or your tenants don’t need to take readings from a smart meter – as the data is transmitted automatically.
This is particularly appealing for landlords who take care of meter readings themselves. If you include bills in your rent then a smart meter is a must-have for you. Landlords can see at a glance how much energy tenants are using and adjust the rent accordingly.
Our Sonic smart device not only detects water leaks but can also be used as a sub-meter, providing landlords with a much more accurate reading than a turbine-based utility meter. For landlords with multi unit properties, Sonic gives a granular view of the unit/apartment water usage so that you can keep an eye on individual apartments in the same app. We imagine that the landlord who discovered one apartment was using 90% of the whole building’s water, (because the tenant had 5 aquariums to keep clean) was wishing he had installed Sonic sooner!
Smart meters are also far more appealing to renters, especially those on a lower income who are keen to track energy usage and pay only what they’re using (rather than the often wildly inaccurate estimated monthly bills).
Happy tenants equal longer stays, better reviews, and ultimately more business for you!
Virtual tours are an excellent marketing tool. Not only does it make your property accessible to potential tenants living overseas or with busy lifestyles but it also cuts down on the amount of work you’ll have to do as a landlord.
Another great use for video calling that you may not have considered as a landlord is to diagnose any maintenance issues with the property. Rather than taking time out of your day to check on something reported by a tenant, ask them to FaceTime or Skype you. They can show you the issue via video feed and you can then make an informed decision about what to do next. Likewise, use video calls to carry out scheduled property checks to make sure everything is in order. It will save you a lot of travel time!
Security is a big concern for landlords, especially those with properties in riskier areas. Installing a smart lock gives you more control over who enters the property and you don’t need to worry about tenants forgetting to lock the door either. Smart lock geofencing technology automatically detects when a keyholder is nearby – and when they’re not, the door instantly locks.
Another benefit of smart locks is that doors can be locked and unlocked remotely. You can let in tradespeople without actually having to be there. But how will you know they are who they say they are? Read on below to find out how smart technology can solve that problem, too!
If you’re a landlord for short-term rentals then a smart lock is a no-brainer. You can simply provide them with a code to the house meaning they can arrive at any time of night or day and you won’t have to be there to let them in (or risk leaving the keys under the front door mat!)
Team your smart lock with a smart doorbell and you have all bases covered! Doorbells with integral cameras allow residents to check who’s at the door before they even open it, and most will record and store certain amounts of footage. This means if you are unfortunate enough to experience a break-in, you’ll have everything captured on camera. Make it obvious that your property is fitted with this smart device and it’s a great deterrent for burglars too!
With your smart lock and smart doorbell, you’ll be able to verify tradespeople from your phone before allowing them entry to the house. Plus, smart doorbells are a good selling point when it comes to finding tenants. They will appeal to working professionals out for long periods and students with anxious parents alike!
Smart Leak Detection
With water damage being the most common home insurance claim in the UK, causing more damage than fires and burglaries combined, it’s no wonder people are starting to prioritise leak detection in their homes.
Savvy landlords are fitting their rental properties with devices, like our Sonic, that use smart technology to detect potential leaks and temperatures to avoid frozen pipes. This will help you to stop problems before they cause real damage, or prevent them from happening entirely. Sonic has a user-configurable integrated shut-off valve that can isolate the incoming water supply in seconds, so you don’t even need to pay a visit to the property to stem the problem. As we mentioned earlier, Sonic also doubles up as a smart sub-meter so you can keep an eye on normal water usage. If the readings change dramatically or creep up without a known cause then you know you could have a potential leak to sort out and stop before more permanent damage is done.
Now that you know that out of all the potential causes of damage to your rental home – water is the most probable, installing a device like Sonic is a must.
People are pretty clued up these days about LED lighting and its energy efficiency and prolonged lifespan. Smart lights take this a bit further, by making it easier to control a property’s lighting from your smartphone.
Smart lighting can be a landlord’s best friend when used well. Set lights to turn on and off remotely at certain times of the day during void periods, or help to make your property more appealing to professionals or students who can make it appear as though someone is home when the house is empty as a burglary deterrent.
Smart lighting is also handy for communal areas. If lights only turn on when movement is detected in a room, it saves energy. In a high-end rental property, app-controlled mood lighting is a unique and eye-catching selling point.
Smart thermostats, like smart lighting, give you a little more control over the energy bills! These AI devices learn when heating needs to be on and when it doesn’t. You can also turn the heating on or off from your smartphone, so there’s no need to rush to the property hours before when you have a viewing booked to make sure it’s a homely temperature!
Smart Smoke Detectors
In the UK it is a legal requirement for landlords to fit their rental properties with smoke alarms. The great advantages about having a smart smoke detector is that it will notify you straight to your smartphone so that even if your property is empty you can act quickly.
Not only do smart smoke detectors enhance safety for everyone living in a rental property, but they help to protect a vacant property too. Things like faulty wiring or electrical equipment faults can occur even when there’s nobody at home, so you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you’ll be alerted quickly if there’s ever a problem.
As technology advances and plays more and more of a role in our everyday lives, tenants are, more than ever before, looking to smart devices to improve their home environment. Landlords willing to embrace the popularity of smart home devices will see an increase in the desirability of their properties, as well as higher retention and higher profits.
If this article has piqued your interest in smart home technology then why not start transforming your rental properties today. Take a closer look at our Sonic leak detector and help avoid putting in an expensive claim any time soon!