A landlord’s guide to investing in smart tech

A landlord’s guide to investing in smart tech

Technology is everywhere and for landlords, it’s a huge opportunity.

Investing in smart technology for your rental property could really help your property stand out.

Not only that, but it could also increase your rental property’s value and make it more eco-friendly.

Here, we’ll explain everything you need to know about smart tech, how much it costs and the kinds of devices you should be looking to invest in…

 

What is smart technology?

‘Smart’ is actually an acronym for ‘Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology’.

Essentially, smart technology is any device that has some kind of automation and is remotely controlled by the user’s voice or by another device through a network connection.

 

What are examples of smart homes?

Smart homes are those properties that are constructed or renovated to include a complete system of smart technology.

That means everything in the property, from lighting and heating to entertainment and appliances, can be controlled by voice or through another device like a tablet or phone.

 

What is a smart home appliance?

There are a whole range of smart home appliances on the market, including:

 

  • Smart TVs and music systems
  • Smart lighting that can be controlled by voice command
  • Smart heating systems that are controlled by voice or through a phone
  • Smart locks and doors
  • Smart security features like cameras and motion sensors
  • Pet feeding devices
  • Automated kitchen appliances

 

The benefits of smart technology for landlords and tenants

There are a whole host of benefits that come with smart technology, particularly for landlords and tenants…

 

1. Convenience

Most tenants in the UK are aged between 25 and 34 – putting them right in the Millennial generation bracket so in tune with the technological advances of the 21st century.

Indeed, many tenants looking for properties in the UK now expect at least a small amount of tech in their rental homes, with superfast broadband a minimum requirement for many post-pandemic.

Tenants love smart tech because it enables them to do everyday tasks efficiently and quickly.

 

2. Sustainability

Many tenants are extremely eco-conscious and look for properties to rent that are energy efficient and produce less carbon.

Smart tech enables them to optimise their energy usage by switching off domestic appliances, heating, and lighting easily through a smart device – even when they’re out.

 

3. Cost-effective

Being able to make savings on energy bills is hugely attractive to money-savvy tenants.

Smart tech gives tenants more control over appliances like washing machines and fridge freezers, as well as heating and lighting, potentially saving them money over the course of a tenancy.

 

4. Security

Smart security systems like video doorbells and motion-detecting cameras can help tenants to feel safe in their rental property.

Feeling safe and secure was highlighted as the number one key motivator for tenants when choosing a property in recent research.

So, investing in smart security could be money extremely well spent.

 

7 great pieces of smart technology for landlords

As a landlord, it’s important to focus on smart technology that will appeal to potential tenants and make their lives easier.

The right smart tech will help your property to stand out, but there are costs involved, so picking the right devices that will boost your returns or help to limit void periods is key.

Take a look at these seven smart tech devices that could be right for your rental property…

 

 

1. A smart fridge / fridge freezer

Price range

£500- £4,000

 

Benefits for tenants

  • Meal planner and calendar integration
  • Internal cameras to look inside without opening the door
  • Speaker system for music
  • Food expiry date notifications
  • Holiday mode for energy saving
  • Touchscreen and voice integration

 

Verdict

Fridge freezers can use a lot of energy, so a smart appliance is a great option for tenants looking to save money and more be eco-conscious.

Some smart fridge freezers are expensive, though, so be sure to look at the key features of each one and think about the needs of your tenants before splashing the cash.

 

 

2. A smart washing machine

Price range

£400 - £1,500

 

Benefits for tenants

  • Remote control use through apps
  • Automatic programme selection
  • Auto-dosing of detergent
  • Memory features
  • Real-time energy use information
  • Machine will use appropriate water and energy based on load weight

 

Verdict

The biggest benefit of a smart washing machine for tenants is how the appliance bases its water and energy use on the amount of washing in the drum.

This can help tenants save money on energy and water bills, as well as help the environment.

App technology also means a tenant could put a wash on from their work desk, or even sunbed – as long as they’ve loaded the machine in advance, of course!

 

 

3. A smart tech bed

Price range

£1,000+

 

Benefits for tenants

  • Sleep pattern tracking
  • Automatic firmness adjustment
  • Temperature regulation and control
  • Lighting adjustment
  • TV and speaker integration
  • Voice control

 

Verdict

Smart beds are a relatively new concept and can be very expensive.

However, because they’re currently so rare in the UK, having one in your rental property if you’re offering it on a furnished basis would certainly stand out.

Cheaper alternatives to smart beds and mattresses are smart mattress covers, which can regulate the temperature of the bed via an app.

This means if your tenants were on their way home from a night out, they can select the temperature they want through their phone.

 

 

4. A smart kettle

Price range

£30 - £350

 

Benefits for tenants

  • Voice activated control
  • Smart phone control
  • Water level notifications
  • Safety features – the kettle won’t boil with no water
  • Variable temperature control
  • Keep-warm settings

 

Verdict

Smart kettles are a cost-effective way of introducing an element of smart technology into your rental property.

They’re also hugely convenient, with voice or phone activated control meaning your tenants can take the first step towards making a cup of tea from their bed or sofa.

And as smart kettles won’t boil without any water in them, they’re also extremely safe.

 

 

5. A smart microwave

Price range

£50 - £250

 

Benefits for tenants

  • Touchscreen operation
  • Phone and voice activation
  • Upload preparation instructions through barcode scanning
  • Moisture sensors
  • Power saving features

 

Verdict

Like a kettle, a smart microwave can be a great cost-effective way to bring smart tech into your rental property.

Look out for a model with barcode scanning that automatically sets the cooking time and temperature, which is a great feature.

 

 

6. Smart plugs

Price range

£15 - £30

 

Benefits for tenants

  • Can turn many standard devices and appliances ‘smart’
  • Integration with voice hubs like Alexa, Google and Apple’s Siri
  • Phone app integration

 

Verdict

Smart plugs are the cheapest way to bring smart tech into your rental property without committing to too much up-front cost.

By plugging a smart plug into a standard socket and then plugging in their appliance of choice, your tenants will be able to control things like lighting, device charging, music devices and TVs either through their phone or a voice control system.

 

 

7. Smart speakers

Price range

£30 - £300

 

Benefits for tenants

  • Voice control system for music
  • Additional control for other devices and home features

 

Verdict

Smart speakers have been around for some time and are also known as ‘voice assistants.’

Options from Amazon, Apple, Sonos and Google come in a range of specifications and prices and smart speakers are a great option for tenants who want to play music, manage their diary, or access information quickly through voice commands.

 

Further reading…