Technology is revolutionising various aspects of our lives, both personally and professionally. This is no different in the property sector, with rental homes becoming more frequently adapted to make way for game-changing technology. According to the Eco Experts, 57% of British homes now contain a smart device, and there are over 2 million smart homes in the UK at the time of this writing.
For landlords that lease properties to tenants, investing in smart home technology could really help their properties stand out, increase property value, and enhance the overall rental experience.
Smart home technology, which encompasses a range of innovative and automated features and capabilities is transforming the ways in which landlords manage and oversee their rental properties. This short guide will explore the current smart home technology trends and devices you can install and will also highlight the benefits and concerns that landlords face when it comes to making such an investment.
If you are currently exploring your options for a potential renovation or restoration project, or are seeking ways you can maximise your return on investment (ROI) through rentals, it’s worth understanding the concept and purpose of this cutting-edge technology that is, by design, meant to make life easier for all involved.
The smart home technology market is experiencing a surge in popularity, driven by the increasing demand for convenience, security, and energy efficiency. Landlords who stay up-to-date with these trends can gain a competitive edge in the rental market.
Implementing smart home technology in a rental house, flat, apartment or bungalow can range from simple, standalone devices to large, fully-integrated systems which communicate with one another. As far as choosing the type of technology to install, landlords are, to put it bluntly, spoiled for choice.
You can use virtual assistants like Google Home or Amazon Alexa to act as a central hub for your smart home. Usually, these hubs and assistants will act as the control units for smart speakers and audio systems, but you can connect plenty of additional devices to give you seamless and automated control over various home functions via your voice.
A property’s security is arguably its most important selling point. Landlords can invest in smart locks, video doorbells, security cameras and other real-time monitoring and access solutions that allow them to remotely view – and interact with – visitors when tenants are not present.
While landlords should take care so as not to invade tenants’ privacy, it is important to ensure that these devices are utilised regularly, kept updated and risk-free. In some cases, it will be worth sourcing products from brands that take cyber threat detection and response seriously. In turn, this will significantly increase security levels, deter potential intruders, and provide optimum peace of mind for tenants and, of course, landlords.
With programmable features and motion sensors, smart lighting systems can create an ambience in a room via voice command, upon entry, or even by detecting light levels from windows. Lights can be automatically turned on or off, dimmed or brightened, depending on the lighting system installed. In turn, this gives landlords more control over how much energy they are using, which is particularly important considering today’s cost of living.
While on the topic of energy usage, other facets of smart energy management include smart metres, thermostats and power outlets, which combine to help optimise energy consumption and reduce utility costs. Simultaneously, this provides inhabiting tenants with greater control and comfort. Of course, it’s recommended to give tenants autonomy when it comes to heating levels, but features like automatic temperature control can give you additional peace of mind and save costs where applicable.
Plumbing fixtures can now be fitted to accommodate add-on smart sensors which can detect leaks and unusual water usage levels. Landlords can be alerted to potential issues and take decisive, prompt action should there be any urgent risks of property damage. This is particularly reassuring if there are currently no tenants inhabiting the property and you are quite a distance from the property.
By incorporating smart home technology into rental properties, landlords can enjoy several benefits.
- Enhanced property appeal – Offering smart home features can entice more tenants to enquire about renting your space. If they are tech-savvy, value energy saving and security focussed, it can give you a competitive edge.
- Cost savings – Smart devices offer the ability to conserve more energy and lower monthly utility bills. What’s more, depending on the area, you may find offering a furnished smart home justifies a slightly higher rental amount.
- Increased security – You can give tenants and yourself peace of mind by implementing smart security features that offer robust protection against burglary, damage and unauthorised access.
- Convenience – Most tenants are familiar with smart home technology and aware of how to use it. Therefore, while attracting more of them is good on one hand, allowing reliable and trustworthy ones to stay will offer additional convenience, as they are unlikely to misuse the tech.
- Sustainability – Many tenants are eco-conscious and want to lower their everyday carbon footprint where possible. As smart tech enables them to preserve more energy, it’s reassuring for you as well, knowing that your property’s energy rating will not unexpectedly skyrocket.
While smart home technology offers numerous benefits, it is essential for landlords to address certain concerns.
Privacy and data protection – Smart devices collect data which can raise some privacy concerns. Therefore, landlords should be selective about the devices they use, ensuring they are reliable and ethical while being transparent with tenants about privacy.
Tenant selection – Some tenants may be unfamiliar with smart home technology or resistant to change. Statistically, most tenants fall in the 25-34 age bracket, so they may be OK, but those that are elderly may be more cautious. To overcome this, landlords can provide clear instructions and offer ongoing support to ensure a smooth transition and maximum utilisation of the technology.
Maintenance – Landlords should consider device compatibility and potential maintenance requirements when selecting smart home solutions. Regular updates and troubleshooting assistance can help address technical issues and vulnerabilities efficiently.
Misuse – Landlords should also be aware that technology is not being used maliciously or for any illegal activity. This is where arranging property visits to include device inspections can come in handy.
Embracing smart home technology in rental properties can be a game-changer for landlords looking to maximise their ROI. Staying up-to-date with current trends and understanding the clear benefits and concerns of this technology can help landlords find the right devices to enhance their properties with.
Smart home technology is not a cost, but rather a practical investment for landlords aiming to optimise their rental property’s appeal and performance in the competitive property market.