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Should I use smart tech in my buy-to-let property?

By Fraser Gregory  //  Thu 28th November 2019
As interest in so-called ‘PropTech’ grows, the future of smart technologies for landlord and tenant looks increasingly important.
Home Smart Technology
The smart home technology market has grown immeasurably in recent years. Everything from smart fridges, which tell you when to stock up on essentials, to heating control apps have become increasingly sophisticated and affordable.

While these devices are a boon for homeowners, does the same apply to landlords? Is smart tech a good investment in a buy-to-let property? Could it make your life as a landlord easier, enable you to charge a higher rent or make your property more attractive to tenants?

As interest in so-called ‘PropTech’ grows, the future of smart technologies for landlord and tenant looks increasingly important.

But, before you dive in to kitting out a buy-to-let property, it’s important to be mindful of costs and only invest in improvements that will bring returns. Don’t get carried away fitting fancy tech devices that appeal to you but won’t necessarily attract tenants – remember, you won’t be the one living there.

Also, be careful of technology that could impinge on your tenants’ privacy. Smart security systems are useful for your tenants, or for you to use between tenancies. But monitoring who’s coming and going on a daily basis could be seen as harassment.

That said, there are four good reasons to consider smart home technology for your rental property:

1. To increase your property’s value

Recent data does show that smart technology can give a home the edge when you’re trying to sell – so if you think you may want to cash in your buy-to-let in the future it’s worth pondering.

The same may also apply to finding tenants, as long as if you match the tech to the demographic of your potential renters – an integrated entertainment system for a high-end corporate let, for example.

2. To make the property more energy efficient

Landlords need to do everything possible to improve the energy efficiency of their rental properties. Since April 2018, new tenancies must achieve a minimum EPC rating of E – and from 2020, this will apply to all tenancies.

Installing smart light bulbs, smart thermostats and smart plugs, all controlled by an app, is a proven way of saving energy. This will reduce energy bills, helping your tenants save money and making the property more appealing – it may also command a higher rent.

If energy bills are included in the rent, smart tech is even more of a benefit for landlords – especially with a new generation of smart thermostats that can sense whether someone is in a room and adjust accordingly.

3. For better security

As a landlord, you want to know that your investment is protected, especially if your property is empty and you don’t live close-by. From smart locks, doorbells, smoke alarms and parcel lockers to a fully-integrated security system with cameras, smart security can protect your property and help your tenants feel safe, encouraging them to stay for longer.

4. For easier maintenance

Being able to automate and perform tasks remotely makes a buy-to-let property easier to maintain. For example, if you’re looking to let an empty property during the colder months, being able to switch the heating on in advance of a viewing will vastly improve the first impression.

In summary…

The advice is to consider smart tech but to think about your potential tenants first. As more of us rely on apps to conduct every area of our lives – from banking to booking a taxi – make sure your property keeps up with the competition. Just be careful not to spend more than you can recoup in increased rental income or value.

If you are a landlord, or you’re thinking of buying to let in central London, contact Plaza Estates for advice about managing your rental property.

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