Home automation, voice recognition and smart home additions have become increasingly popular over the past few years. But, as we’re not yet living with live-in robot assistants or flying cars, is it worth investing in technology for your rental property? And which technologies could you consider as a landlord that could add value to your property?
Smart homes, as a definition, ‘use electronic networking technology to integrate various devices and appliances so that an entire home can be controlled centrally or remotely’1. Voice-controlled speakers have emerged as the main controller for the connected home and, as of May 2018₂, ownership of voice-controlled speakers in the UK is at 13%. Statistics from PWC, also from May 2018, show that ‘almost 40% of people enter the connected home market via smart entertainment devices’ and ‘survey results indicate that households will spend £10.8bn on smart devices in 2019’. Smart homes are clearly becoming increasingly popular and this could be a factor that renters are looking for in their next home.
Smart sensors include security, heating and lighting functionalities that could make your property incredibly attractive to renters who lead busy lives, such as young professionals or families. These sensors mean that home-makers can control their thermostats, set patterns for their heating to come on and even control their lighting when they aren’t at home.
Leak Smart is another sensor that could be beneficial to both tenant and landlord as they can detect leaks and shut off water at the mains within 5 seconds. Therefore leading to less damage to both the property and the contents from burst pipes and leaks.
Installing any of these sensors will be the choice of landlords, property owners or even tenants if they have permission but pre-installing could make your rental property more attractive than a property with a standard thermostat system. There are multiple smart sensors on the market and they all come with mobile apps and most can also be controlled by voice-recognition software such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
Smart energy meters mean that tenants can keep an eye on their personal energy usage and many people like to monitor their spending this way. ‘Smart energy meters reported a pre-purchase impact value of 22.6% for comfort and 55.9% in financial terms, rising to 53.9% and 71.8% respectively once installed’₃. This shows that smart meters actually perform better than expected from the survey results.
But, why is this beneficial to landlords and lettings agents? If your tenants live in a building that has a communal area for energy meters then it can be tricky for them to gain access to read their own meters and therefore will have to contact their agent or landlord in order to submit these to energy companies every time they need to update their usage. Installing smart meters eliminates this routine and potentially inconvenient visits to the property.
These two technologies are amongst many other home automation and smart appliances that can be installed into homes that could potentially make your property more attractive to new tenants. If you’d like any more inspiration on how to improve your rental property you could also consider adding a home office.
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1 The Market Potential for Smart Homes - The Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2000
2 Mintel The Connected Home Report - UK - May 2018
3 PWC Press Room