Smart home technology can improve many aspects of the rental property business, both in terms of operational efficiencies, comfort for the tenants and cost savings. Investing in smarter living can pay off.
The market for smart homes is expected to reach $ 137 billion by 2023. Although most of this growth is driven by single-family housing, the demand for smart apartments in multi-family homes has started to gain momentum. It has usually been the residents who have installed technology, for instance, lighting control, which has been of limited benefit to the property owner.
When the property owner takes the initiative himself and installs integrated technology in the apartments, many valuable benefits arise. The starting point is often energy optimization and improved automation of traditional building systems such as heating and ventilation. With new sensor technologies and IoT solutions, new opportunities open up for data-driven efficiency, but also for offering novel and improved services to tenants.
1. Cost reduction and improved sustainability
Buildings consume incredibly large amounts of energy. Buildings and construction account
for 36% of global energy use, mainly due to heating and cooling. The sustainability perspective is about minimizing the carbon footprint of the building, but also an excellent strategy to reduce the considerable cost of the tenant’s energy use.
Connected smart devices that generate real-time data provide insights into gas, electricity, water use, and more. This information allows the property manager to monitor real-time consumption, which will enable them to find ways to reduce waste and improve energy efficiency. For instance, installing advanced HVAC technology that reports data in real-time in combination with IoT sensor technologies can monitor and control cooling and heating in different locations, which in total reduces the building’s energy use.
With detailed knowledge about the property and its systems, it will be possible to predict and schedule maintenance. Today many landlords are forced to react to building issues rather than preventively replacing parts, which would be substantially cheaper. Predictive maintenance is a growing field that provides property managers with tools to maintain and develop more effective operational plans from a broad perspective.
Installing connected electricity meters is also a way of engaging the tenant in mutual cost reduction benefits. With a detailed measurement of energy consumption, the property can analyze the tenant’s energy consumption down to connected units. This can give the tenant new insights about their behavior and, e.g., choose more energy-efficient cooking methods or set different comfort temperatures in different rooms, which leads to lower consumption and lower costs.
2. Risk minimization
The list of potential risks that a multi-family home faces are extensive – including mechanical errors, equipment failures, intruders, the tenant, and more. These risks are severe, with the potential to both risk tenants’ lives and the property.
Water damage is by far the most common cause of property damage, where a single incident can cause extensive damage and broad claims. Smart home technology can stop water damage before sensors turn off valves when leaks are detected, or even turn off the entire water supply if needed and then notify you of the problem.
Sensative offers a water leakage sensor, Strips Drip, which, thanks to its form factor and long battery life, can be mounted in difficult-to-reach places, e.g., under a dishwasher. When it senses water, it sends an alarm to the Building System, which can then act with an appropriate warning or automatic shutdown.
Another risk concerns the personal security and safety of the residents. Smart locks, alarms, and cameras will soon be in every single-family home. The same is installed by many residents in their apartments, with or without the landlord’s consent. Also, they will be isolated security features for some tech-savvy tenants. A better strategy is for the property manager to design the complete protection and security system and to integrate this into the smart property. You can then add energy-saving and convenient functions such as turn off the lights, lower the temperature and check that the stove is switched off when the tenant leaves and activates the alarm.
3. Happy tenants
Keeping the residents happy is most important, but it can be challenging to quantify in money. Managing tenant complaints is a daily task for property managers, and smart home technologies can help solve these problems.
One of the more common complaints from tenants is about the temperature in their apartment. With smart thermostats, tenants can have personal control over electricity consumption and heating in their apartments, which significantly reduces this type of complaint. Tenants will also be better protected overall – water sensors and safety systems can help keep them safer.
Smart apartments - Invest in smarter living
Implementation of smart home tech in multi-family homes usually provides an ROI in two main ways: through operational efficiency and higher property value. There will be significant cost savings from reduced energy use, reduced water waste, and reduced risk of property damage. Smart apartments that provide convenience and security will have a higher valuation compared to non-smart buildings, which also makes it an investment decision. High-tech smart technology with superior features can also attract tenants who are willing to pay premium rent for a premium home.
Smart technology gives property owners more control over their properties and gives them lower costs due to increased operational efficiency, resource management, and improved prevention tools. Tenants will have better housing experiences, and customer service problems can often be resolved quickly with simple device settings. As the demand for smart tech in multi-family homes grows, tenants will look for accommodation that provides them with the best possible living experience.