In the last few years, the interest in property tech from consumers, the media and businesses has sky-rocketed. According to Forbes, investment in property technology flew from $186 million worldwide in 2011, to $12 billion in 2017. It’s something that is of particular interest in rental circuits, helping landlords contain costs through energy efficiency while providing tenants with sought-after amenities to enhance their stay.
Smart technology, such as smart locks and robotic cleaners, is becoming increasingly popular and is a small way for potential tenants to recognise what makes your property stand above the rest. It’s important in any industry to stay ahead of the competition and staying on trend with this technology is a simple way you can achieve this while growing rent revenue and improving tenant retention. This technology has provided London landlords and homeowners with security, energy efficiency and most of all, convenience.
Some may say that this is over complicating a simple process, but in reality, this technology is in demand and it’s these relevant amenities that will see your property above the rest on a tenant’s wish-list. The bottom line is that these devices can and will save money, whilst making your property more energy-efficient and decreasing your carbon footprint.
Of course, which items of prop tech are deemed the most relevant and useful will vary from landlord to landlord. The key is to determine which aspects of the day-to-day cause the most headaches and eliminate these with the use of smart technology. Ultimately, they can make your job as a buy-to-let landlord more lucrative and creates less hassle in the long run.
We have listed some examples of our most trusted and favoured property technology that can make your life as a London landlord much easier.
Smart locks provide landlords with the ability to unlock doors from anywhere in the world, which brings the benefit of convenient security for overseas landlords and tenants alike.
These locks allow access to your property via a smartphone, leaving losing keys or forgetting access codes a thing of the past. You can open and close doors, pass on security alerts, create privileges to certain people, enable voice-activated authorisations and link to CCTV.
Klevio is a smart intercom and a smartphone app that lets you open doors and share keys with authorised users. Working through an iOS or Android app, the smart lock connects to an existing intercom system and can be integrated with multiple rental platforms, making it the number one smart lock system for many international investors and landlords.
Not only can you open doors from anywhere in the world, but it also produces automated digital keycodes which can then be shared with your estate agents, tenants and anyone for that matter. These codes are restricted by time and location, so the user can only access your property within the agreed time frame, which means that after a tenant leaves, the code will no longer work. The notifications from the app will tell you who is arriving and departing from your property and when.
This also prevents misuse and increases the level of safety in your property, which means that both tenants and our own operations management team will be aware of any movements that seem odd and unexpected.
When your property has been empty for more than a day or so, the last thing your tenant will want is to return home with uninviting temperatures which are too cold or too hot. But whilst timed central heating systems offer a controlled temperature, it can be expensive if your property is empty for short periods of time with no one occupying the property.
The Nest Thermostat works with your Wi-Fi to control your heating, even when you’re away. The temperature can be controlled remotely from your mobile phone whilst you’re anywhere in the world.
For tenants or landlords, this means that you can control the heating from your mobile phone. So, you can set your property to the perfect temperature, just a few hours before you’re ready to return home.
Nest Protect – Smoke Detector
Nest doesn’t just make handy smart thermostats which offer convenience and a way of saving money, but some of their other products have ways of protecting your property and offering a great level of safety.
Gone are the days where a simple smoke alarm requires regular maintenance and testing. Now, the Nest Protect Smoke Detector connects directly to your Wi-Fi and sends alerts to your mobile when the smart device detects smoke or fire in your property.
The app is easy-to-use with user experience in mind, as it notifies you exactly what issues the detector has found and even allows you to silence the alarm from your mobile phone. Whether you have burnt something in the oven or if carbon monoxide is detected, you’ll know exactly where the issue has been found and what has caused the alarm to detect smoke.
No matter where you are in the world, you can still remain in control of the safety of your home. The alarm tests itself and lasts up to ten years, making it extremely low maintenance and great value for money.
Another nice feature of the Nest Protect is the Pathlight, which creates a bright light to brighten up a room after detecting someone walking underneath the alarm at night. This can be perfect when you head to the kitchen during the middle of the night for a drink.
Retailing at just £109, the Nest Protect is affordable and extremely cost-effective.
If you take on your own cleaning of your property, you’ll want to make sure that it’s thoroughly cleaned to meet the expectations of your tenants. With multiple properties in your rental portfolio, regularly cleaning can be a challenge and realistically you may sometimes be busy.
Robotic vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers might seem a little extravagant, but some robotic cleaners and mowers on the market are affordable and much more efficient. Whether it’s regular vacuum cleaning or garden maintenance, robotic vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers will give you one less thing to worry about and helps you make sure that your property is clean and tidy.
Exterior Surveillance Cameras
Safety and security are paramount for most landlords and tenants, particularly those who have concerns about break-ins or burglaries.
Arlo Ultra is an example of a high-end surveillance camera system, which tracks motion, automatically zooms in and out, cancels noise and is described as one of the sharpest surveillance cameras on the market with 4K HDR picture, 180-degree view and enhanced night vision. The smart tech camera can even determine the difference between objects during motion detection, with its advanced detection algorithm. This means that it can alert you and identify a human walking past your property or even identify if it’s a cat.
With Arlo Ultra, you’ll need to subscribe to the service for £1.99 a month. It is pricier compared to other similar surveillance cameras, but the powerful and clear HD image makes the camera cost-effective.
It’s important to remember that if you are using security cameras at your property, you may need to disclose it to the development owner. You’ll also need to disclose if an active recording is taking place, but making sure that the cameras aren’t invading personal space by being in private areas, such as the bedroom or bathroom.
The idea of only using utilities when necessary and turning things off to save pennies isn’t a new phenomenon. Adding technology into the mix allows you to visualise exactly what is being used, where you can avoid unnecessary expenditure and provides a simple solution to this.
Smart energy appeals to both your bank balance and your tenants by reducing your carbon footprint and saving you money in the long-run. This can be attractive to potential tenants who are looking to pay less in utilities, which therefore allows you to increase the rental value.
The only disadvantage to smart energy is that it does require a good signal to work remotely and can initially be confusing to get to grips with.
A sole benefit of property technology is to make things easier for tenants and landlords. Automated lighting is a great example of this, which allows lights and devices to be turned on remotely using an app or voice recognition.
This can increase the level of safety by having the ability to create timed schedules where the lights can be switched on when you are away or arriving back at the property.
This feature allows lights and devices to be turned on remotely using an app or voice recognition and easing use. Automated lighting can be switched on with simple movement throughout the building, which can be perfect for saving money too.
The only downside is that this could frustrate your tenants with the lack of light switches. It would also be worth considering if it would help your business, otherwise, it may not be worth the money to implement.
How Can JOHNS&CO Help You?
Imagine your current property and it’s best selling points. Now imagine that same property, but with the ability for tenants to control each setting with a simple mobile, app or voice recognition.
At JOHNS&CO, we manage property rentals across London. As an award-winning property management company, JOHNS&CO is reinventing the rental property marketplace. Our team has already helped many property owners with their boundless expertise, local knowledge and turnkey rental solutions.
If you’re interested in any of our new London developments, whether you are looking to sell, rent, buy or invest, our friendly team at JOHNS&CO are on hand to help you every step of the way.