As we’re all aware, the smart home technology market has grown significantly in recent years, making once ‘gadgets of the future’ an accessible, and (often) affordable part of modern life. It’s one thing investing in technology for your own home, for the sake of convenience or luxury (or to show off to your mates, let’s admit) but there’s a different agenda if you’re a landlord kitting out your buy-to-let. Smart homes, and whether in fact we need one, have been discussed before on this blog, with figures stating an overwhelming 81% felt smart home technology would help to sell a house. So how about helping to let a house?
Smart Landlords are Utilising Smart Home Technology
Creating a USP
As a proptech startup in the letting space, understanding landlords (as one of our key user groups) and their needs and objectives is important. Landlords are having a hard time of it recently. Taxes, interest relief, stamp duty and changes in laws and legislations are generally offering a gloomy picture for landlords. Despite this, research suggests the market is still growing with landlords continuing to grow their portfolios and investments. This is supported by the fact that the private rental sector continues to grow, as the UK follows many other EU countries to create a ‘generation rent.’ In the next ten years PwC has estimated that a further 1.8 million people will rent privately, meaning that half of all UK residents will form part of the private rental sector by 2025.
Figures state that 81% of estate agents believe smart home technology would help to sell a houseClick To Tweet
So, all of this means that there is a shift that’s giving tenants a little more confidence to demand more. Of course there are areas of London and the major cities where demands still considerably outweighs available property, but as the amount of people renting grows, alongside ever increasing technology, so do tenant’s expectations. It is this that is leading landlords to diversify, to find a USP and stand out from the crowd. One way of doing this is to utilise smart home technology to firstly interest the tenant, but also create a better experience for them while living in their property. This of course also means they can charge a higher rent. There could be a number of other benefits too.
Landlords benefit from making their home more energy efficient by potentially raising the value of the property if they choose to sell and by earning a higher EPC rating which should make the property more attractive. Energy efficiency as means lower energy bills and a lower the likelihood of issues such as damp – all in all making the experience better for the tenant. This may involve investing in smart thermostats such as Nest, innovative insulation technology, or simply the latest energy efficient light bulbs. Smart plugs, smart power strips, electrochromic smart glass – there’s all sorts out there. In a trial by Islington Council Q-Bots were used to fit insulation in tricky, hard to reach spots like suspended floors, and of course for new builds there are many green options now available.
Smart Home, Safe Home
Making homes safer with smart technology is probably one of the quickest ways for landlords to make their rental properties tech-smart. It benefits the tenant but should help put the landlord’s mind at rest that his precious investment is being protected. There are a range of smart locks now available. You can lock and unlock through an app on your phone and temporarily authorise others (such as a plumber) to have access. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are becoming more intelligent (and less annoying) as you can mute an accidental alarm on your phone and get a notification when the battery needs charging. Smart security systems like Canary offer an integrated security system with security cameras accessible through an app on your phone. Of course this would be in the hands of the tenant to manage, and is moving into the realm of ‘nice to have’ luxuries with the likes of smart coffee machines and stereos.
Now, more than ever, landlords want to save money. The also want to make more money. They want an easier way to let and manage their property. In terms of being more energy efficient, protecting their investment property from harm and staying competitive in a growing market, smart technology may just help them on their way.
Written by Steph Dunn from Letproof.com.
Letproof.com are a proptech startup aiming to disrupt the letting market and create a better way for landlords to let and tenants to rent. The Letproof.com platform offers an online community for landlords and tenants to meet directly without the need for letting agents. To find out more you can visit Letproof.com or say hello on Twitter or Facebook.