We live in a world where homeowners can turn on the AC, unlock and lock the front door, turn on the lights, and detect water leaks – all from the office, the airport, or across the country. Home automation systems have gained popularity due to overwhelming success of computer-to-computer communication, commonly referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT). As smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices continue to advance each year, consumers have access to smart home technologies that were once reserved for the elite.
Smart home technologies can be wired into the structure of a house with a central control panel, or offered through external devices like electronic plug adaptors or standalone sensors. These home automation systems create smart homes, connected over wireless networks and linked directly to a mobile device allowing users to control smart devices from an app. Smart home users benefit from added security, comfort, energy management, and convenience, all while easily and remotely monitoring their home.
Landlords and property managers can greatly benefit from the use of smart home technologies in their rental properties – not only to attract tech-savvy tenants who will pay higher rent for these amenities, but also to actively manage maintenance, improve security, and prevent property damage. Here are some of the leading innovations in smart home technology and the benefits for landlords.
Smart Locks: A common issue landlords face is providing approved access to maintenance personnel or contractors who need to work on something inside a rental unit. Smart locks and remote access allow landlords to unlock a unit using an app on their smartphone from wherever they are, and then re-lock it when the contractor vacates the unit. This avoids the hassle of coordinating schedules to meet in person or having to give out keys. Remote access can also come in handy when property managers or real estate agents are showing the property to a prospective renter.
Smart Appliances: Smart appliances can inform a landlord if an appliance requires maintenance, eliminating the need to rely on tenants to report problems in a timely manner. Sensors and comprehensive analytics will monitor the appliance and detect changes in performance, preventing problems before they even occur. Landlords can catch even small issues before they become bigger, expensive problems.
Moisture Sensors: A smart moisture sensor can detect excess moisture and send an alert to avoid excess water damage from plumbing issues, burst pipes, or flooding. Strategically placed moisture sensors can help detect unwanted water in areas that tenants might not be monitoring on a day-to-day basis – under the sink, under the washing machine, or in the basement. With a relatively small upfront cost, this smart technology can save you thousands of dollars in potential water damage.
Smart Irrigation Systems: Landlords toe a fine line between wanting to maintain landscaping efforts and wanting to actively manage water usage. These systems can go beyond a programmed timer for watering lawns and flower beds, also monitoring weather patterns, soil moisture content, and temperatures to adjust water usage accordingly.
Smart Utilities: Technology like smart LED light bulbs, smart plugs or smart thermostats can help reduce a landlord’s energy costs and increase profitability. If you are responsible for the utilities in your rental property, you’ll decrease your expenses and be able to actively manage energy use. If you don’t control the utilities at your rental property, renters will appreciate the opportunity to save money on their monthly utility bills, and you’ll likely attract energy-conscious tenants. When landlords are in between tenants or a property is vacant, the ability to remotely control energy usage will not only save money, but help to prevent issues like frozen pipes.
Smart Security Systems: Smart security systems like doorbell or driveway cameras have gained popularity due to the fact that they allow you to monitor your property from anywhere. There are highly customizable systems that allow you to keep an eye on things yourself, or pay a subscription fee to have your property surveilled by a professional service. Tenants will feel safer with the ability to check who is at the door from their smartphone, and landlords will be able to monitor the property when tenants are away or the property is vacant. Just be sure to respect tenant privacy when the property is occupied.
Research shows that household penetration in the smart home market is at 33.2% in 2019. Smart home technology can help landlords improve landlord-tenant relationships, eliminate emergency maintenance calls, and prevent expensive repairs. Not only will these tools make your job easier as a landlord, but they will attract renters as you keep up with the technology demand.