Landlords know how demanding and time-consuming it can be to manage rental properties. They often have to keep track of multiple units or buildings, respond to tenant requests quickly and stay up-to-date with rapid regulatory changes. The more properties they have in their portfolio, the harder it is to keep up with all of this.
In that regard, adopting technology can make the life of a landlord significantly easier while also saving time and money. So, why have landlords traditionally been resistant to technology adoption?
Well, it appears that one reason is the perception that technology is expensive and difficult to implement. Landlords may be reluctant to adopt technology solutions due to concerns about the cost of implementation and potential technical issues that may arise from time to time.
Another reason which could be putting off landlords is the idea that technology could be difficult for tenants to use. Some landlords could harbour concerns over whether or not tenants will be able to use the technology they’ve paid for and spent time setting up.
Perhaps one of the biggest barriers, however, might be the fact that some landlords prefer to stick with traditional methods of managing their properties, as they have done for decades. They may be too comfortable with the processes they have in place, no matter how outdated they might be, and are thus reluctant to adopt technology that they are unfamiliar with.
Each of these concerns is valid, to a certain extent, but choosing the correct technology for each case is the key to overcoming these barriers. The right technology can be affordable, simple to implement, easy to use, and allow them to retain some of their traditional approaches to managing their properties.
Despite the resistance, as technology solutions continue to evolve they will inevitably become more user-friendly and cost-effective, and it is therefore likely that more landlords will begin to adopt them in order to improve their property management processes and better meet the needs of their tenants.
The benefits of adopting technology
There are countless benefits that arise from adopting technology solutions for landlords, including increased efficiency, improved communication with tenants and enhanced tenant satisfaction, as well as the associated cost and time savings for the landlord.
For example, smart smoke and carbon dioxide detectors can alert landlords and tenants of any potential hazards almost to the second, allowing them to take prompt action and prevent any damage. In a similar way, smart meters, sometimes known as smart thermostats, can help landlords and tenants control heating remotely and track usage, so both parties can rest assured that the property is energy efficient and affordable.
Secondly, technology can improve landlord-tenant communication. Online maintenance request systems, for instance, can allow tenants to report issues at the push of a button, so landlords are able to action any maintenance requests with connected tradespeople.
In a similar vein, landlords can also use inspection software to streamline their property inspections, whether that's check-in reports, periodic inspections or end-of-tenancy checks, reducing the amount of time they need to spend on each task.
Finally, and perhaps one of the biggest areas making the life of landlords easier is that technology can help landlords stay compliant with regulations. Let’s say for example there was a dispute between the landlord and the tenant over property damage.
Well, a landlord who diligently conducts their inspections throughout the course of the tenancy and captures all the necessary details has a record of such information, so that in the unlikely event a legal dispute does arise. In situations such as this, the landlord has peace of mind and paperwork, albeit digital, to back up their case.
For these reasons alone, adopting technology can make a big difference in a landlord's life. As we said, it can help them manage their properties more efficiently, improve communication with their tenants and stay compliant with regulations. So what about the actual technologies enabling that efficiency, communication and compliance? Let’s take a look at four of the very best no landlord should be without.
The top 4 technologies that make life easier for UK landlords
1. Smart smoke detectors & carbon dioxide detectors
Installing smart smoke and carbon dioxide detectors in your properties can alert you and your tenants of any potential hazards or issues. The reason why they provide enhanced safety for tenants is that they can detect smoke and carbon dioxide levels in real-time and alert the tenant and landlord if there is a potential threat. This can help to prevent fires and other dangerous situations, reducing the risk of injury or property damage.
As carbon and smoke detectors are a legal requirement in rental properties, being able to monitor them remotely is another significant benefit of smart detectors. Landlords who adopt technology like smart smoke detectors can keep track of the status of each detector to ensure that they are functioning properly and are not in need of maintenance or replacement. When they are, the landlord can respond quickly and easily.
2. Smart meters
Renters have been particularly hard hit by the cost of living crisis in the UK. Rising housing costs, coupled with stagnant wages mean that many renters are spending a large proportion of their income on rent, leaving little left over for other expenses. Because energy costs have also risen significantly, this makes it hard for many renters in the UK to afford their energy bills. This is particularly challenging for those living in substandard properties, where energy costs can be higher due to poor energy efficiency.
Even still, for landlords who have improved the energy efficiency of their properties, energy consumption is still a primary concern for many renters. This is where smart meters can be useful, helping your tenants to better understand and manage their energy usage. Whether it’s accurate billing, real-time information or reduced energy consumption, smart meters are a win for both the tenant and the landlord, as the less energy a property consumes, the more sustainable a landlords’ portfolio is.
3. Online maintenance requests
Allowing your tenants to submit maintenance requests online can save you time and effort. Instead of waiting for a phone call or a visit from your tenants, you can receive their requests instantly and prioritize them accordingly. Online maintenance request systems can also keep track of past requests and provide a record of any issues that need to be addressed.
Online maintenance requests allow tenants to communicate maintenance issues to landlords quickly and easily, without the need for endless phone calls or costly in-person visits. This can help to ensure that maintenance issues are addressed promptly, reducing the risk of further damage or inconvenience to the tenant.
These maintenance requests can be tracked by landlords anywhere, at any time, allowing them to stay updated on each request so nothing slips through the cracks. This can help to build positive relationships between landlords and tenants, leading to increased tenant retention.
4. Inspection software
Last but certainly not least is inspection software. This can help landlords streamline their property inspections and reduce the amount of time they need to spend walking around the property, checking the inventory or tracking the property condition throughout the course of a tenancy. With inspection software, landlords are able to create checklists or use premade templates, take photos and videos, and add notes using just a smartphone or tablet.
This makes it easy to document any issues that need to be addressed or capture vital property information for future reference. Landlords can also generate reports and share them with tenants, agents or maintenance personnel, greatly improving communication and accountability.
So, while there are a handful of barriers in the way of technology, changing demands and the shifting nature of the UK housing market mean that future-focused landlords are implementing technology to stay efficient, communicative and compliant, clearly choosing peace of mind over uncertainty, and it’s fair to say they’re better off for it.