Photo of a tenant adjusting a web-enabled smart home thermostat.

Smart Home Tech in Your Rental Property

Updated January 1, 1 . AmFam Team

Smart home technology has benefited rental property owners in a number of ways. Take a look at these important reasons why your rental can really benefit from the Internet of Things revolution.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has transformed the way we interact with our homes. Every day, more and more products enter into the marketplace, with a staggering 23 billion “smart” devices currently connected to the cloud. But really, what’s the benefit of installing smart home technology in your rental property? It may seem like an added expense without much of a return on the investment, but the answer may surprise you. From added security to staying connected to properties, landlords are finding the IoT pays in a number of important ways.

How Does Smart Home Technology Benefit Landlords?

Part of a busy landlord’s job requires on-site visits to inspect the condition of appliances and the cleanliness of common areas. And because time is money, it can get expensive to commute to and from. Today, that’s all changing with the IoT. Here are several good reasons why smart home technology benefits landlords:

You can check in remotely. If you’ve been a landlord for any length of time, you know that keeping your space clean and safe is a high priority. With smart security cameras installed in public areas, you can swivel and zoom in to check on your space from the convenience of your smart phone.

You'll receive automated appliance updates. With your household appliances like the HVAC or dishwasher tied to the cloud, you’ll get news of malfunctions and scheduled maintenance reminders from the appliance itself.

Alarm systems can capture video and inform police. When a rental property experiences a break in, more than just your tenant’s items are at risk. Smart home security systems, like American Family’s partner Frontpoint, can alert authorities and property managers the moment something happens. Video doorbells offer convenience and security too. And, tenants love that they can screen visitors remotely, before opening the door.

Smoke and carbon monoxide sensors can contact first responders. Now, Wi-Fi-connected sensors can call the fire department and inform them of dangerous conditions even when no one’s home. And you can be informed as well. You’ll be able to warn neighbors and nearby tenants well before you would have without these lifesaving devices. IoT systems like these can reduce property damage and that translates into money saved.

You can get early warning on water damage. Corrosion-resistant, smart flood sensors are built to detect even the smallest leaks. With fast notification, you’ll be able to respond quickly to issues and that can help prevent expensive water damage.

You'll save on energy costs. Vacancies are expensive enough with the loss of rental income. You can keep overhead down by remotely adjusting the thermostat between tenants. And better, you can boost the heat in the hours before a showing without the added hassle of having to arrive on-site to kick up the thermostat. By installing smart lighting and smart plugs, you’ll also be able to turn lights on randomly and deter thieves while you’re seeking a qualified tenant for the vacant space.

Discounts for Smart Home-enabled Rental Properties

We reward smart home security decisions. When your rental’s got an active contract with a preferred IoT-enabled home monitoring group, you may be in for a better rate. And bundling your rental’s insurance with a qualifying policy could save you even more. Get in touch with one of our expert agentstoday to discuss all the ways you can save with discounts.

Good Tenants Love Smart Homes

As millennials graduate college and enter the workforce, they’re seeking places to rent that have high-end amenities. Granite countertops and sparkling stainless steel appliances frequently draw them into applying for tenancy. Having grown up with a phone in their hands, they’re familiar with the benefits of web-enabled devices, despite not being able to afford them on their own just yet. When they find a diamond in the rough rental space that’s outfitted with this tech, they typically apply right away.

IoT devices have become so popular that niche companies like IOTAS (which stands for IoT as-a-Service) now work with real estate developers in the Portland, Oregon area to outfit entire multi-family rental units with smart home-enabled components. With amenities like these installed across the ecosystem of your rental, tenants understand their value and expect higher rent prices too. And you can leverage that expectation to help recapture the up-front costs of investing and installing. Here are some reasons why good tenants love smart homes:

Heating and cooling costs can be micromanaged. Smart thermostats benefit both renter and landlord with energy savings. Your tenant gets to pinch those pennies, and you’re able to draw in well qualified renters with IoT staples like these.

Smart locks can be unlocked from your phone, remotely. The ease-of-use benefits that your residents get when smart locks are in play are a real win for landlords that goes way beyond tenant security and convenience. You’ll find smart locks give your trusted team of tradespeople access to the rental for repairs without requiring you on-site to open up or lock the door when they’re done. And time-stamped text alerts can be generated each time the door opens, allowing you to audit charges for services rendered.

Smart appliances hook into tenant’s smart home speakers. With a little configuring, most of these IoT-enabled items can be connected to smart devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home. These voice-controlled items can be programmed to adjust the heat or start the laundry. With a few well-placed smart light bulbs like Philips Hue, tenants can walk into a dark room and ask Alexa to turn on the lights. It’s amenities like these that can reduce turnover and convert your annual renewals into long-term lease holders.

While you’re considering the IoT options for your rental, reach out to your American Family Insurance agent (Opens in a new tab) and learn about how improving safety and communication channels with first responders can benefit your bottom line. Added security is always a good thing, and when you’re working with a trusted advisor like your agent, you’ll find yourself with a fine-tuned policy that carefully protects your investments at a price you can afford.

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