From rent payment reminders to complex compatibility algorithms, technology is transforming the property rental experience.
Technology such as dating apps has transformed the lives of many, and at the same time, the huge rise in property prices has pushed a generation out of home ownership. It was always going to be just a matter of time before technology started solving the difficult problems of the rental sector.
For example, there are now room rental platforms which match renters to landlords using intelligent algorithms. Recommendation engines for landlords have been developed, where artificial intelligence can also eliminate initial bias. Arguably, this technology provides a more accurate pairing than first impressions when meeting in person.
Similar technology has also been developed for tenant finding, which searches for the best flatmate. Flat sharing sites often solely focus on the property, but the most important consideration for your home may be whether or not you are happy sharing a home with the people you live with.
The boom of property related technology, or proptech, shows no signs of slowing, with new companies constantly searching for ways to disrupt the traditional rental market and take advantage of the rising number of renters across the UK.
Data from the ONS (Office for National Statistics) has shown that the number of households in the privately rented sector has increased from 2.8 million homes in 2007 to 4.5 million in 2017, an increase of 61 per cent,
The price of renting a home in the private rented sector is also rising. In the twelve months leading to January this year, rents rose by approximately 1 per cent, according to the most recent official data. As tenants are paying more for their property, they also expect a better, more professional service. Therefore, landlords, especially those trying to appeal to the most lucrative renters, are also searching for technology which can improve and transform their customer’s experience.
Despite a thriving customer base, there is continued fierce competition between conventional letting agents and their online counterparts, which is likely to be heightened when the ban on tenant fees comes into force from 1st June 2019.
The expectations of tenants are also evolving, since many services can be ordered at the simple click of an app. Current processes around signing a document or reporting maintenance issues are extremely frustrating for tenants, as it can take days or weeks for a resolution. For example, property inventory software can streamline the inventory process and create a procedure which is smooth and straightforward for both landlords and tenants.
Tenants now expect to be able to manage their tenancy from an online platform or app, in a similar way to other services. From initial viewing, tenants expect a technologically advanced and smooth rental experience, and they also expect smart facilities within their homes too.
With hi-tech security, smart meters and smart doorbells readily available, this technology is becoming increasingly popular. To thrive in the market today, landlords must be ready to embrace technology, which frequently acts as a differentiator that allows landlords to react to their tenant’s changing needs.
With agents competing for business from landlords, and landlords competing for the most profitable and desirable tenants, it is likely that technology will transform the day-to-day activities of renting.
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