No one said that being a landlord was easy. Of course, the idea of passive income from property investment is appealing. But managing properties is not a passive job. Apart from collecting rent regularly, you’ve got to care for property maintenance, vacancies, disputes, and emergencies. So, anything to make your job as a landlord easier is going to be a welcome relief.
Technology provides a ton of solutions to make your job as a landlord easier. You can use property management apps to collect rent and security deposits online, keep up with property maintenance, screen tenants, and process rental applications. Technological solutions can make your job as a landlord more passive while, at the same time, maximizing profits.
How can technology make your life as a landlord easier? This article looks at how you can use mobile apps and smart home devices to run a successful rental business.
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Why landlords need technology
Technology has changed the way most of us live. It seems there is nothing you can’t do from a smartphone. From calling a cab to ordering a pizza doing banking, and keeping tabs on your health—there’s an app for almost everything. So, it makes sense that tenants want to pay their rent online.
The need for landlords to go digital came to the fore in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic. A report by McKinsey in April 2020 said that overnight, real estate investors had to find online solutions. This meant digitally signing leases, arranging virtual showings, and organizing online meetings.
The report concluded that offering tenants online solutions increases loyalty, streamlines business, and maximizes profits. Additionally, digital rental solutions meet the demands of tenants.
How technology makes a landlord’s life easier
Let’s look in more detail at specific ways how technological advances can reduce your workload as a landlord. It’s not just property management apps that make your life easier. There are smart tech devices that are perfect for rental units.
1. Online rent collection
Collecting rent online is the most significant way technology can make your life easier. Tenants already pay for most things with a mobile app, so why not rent? Accepting online rent payments means no more waiting on rent checks to arrive and then depositing them.
Landlords who get their tenants to pay rent online find that they have fewer late payments. For example, tenants can set up automatic payments so they never forget to pay. Even offering multiple payment methods—credit card, debit card, or ACH—makes it easier for tenants to pay rent on time.
Because everything is digital, you also have a record of tenants’ payment status. You can even integrate the app with bookkeeping software—saving you even more time.
2. Process rental applications
Technology makes it easier to process rental applications. Online forms streamline the whole application process. Tenants fill in the relevant details that are on a standard rental application. The tenant also gives permission to request references and carry out credit and background checks.
Automated processes make life easier for you. Here are just a few benefits of processing digital forms:
- Details can be automatically included in the rental agreement, so fewer mistakes.
- Tenants pay for credit reports and background checks, and you automatically get a copy of them.
- Tenants make fewer mistakes filling out digital forms.
- You receive instant notifications when an application is submitted.
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3. Electronically sign documents
Technology had made it possible to sign rental documents electronically. And they are just as legal as a hard, paper copy with an ink signature. No longer do you have to arrange to meet tenants in person to sign a lease agreement. All you need to do is email them the lease agreement. They eSign the electronic document and send it back to you. After you sign the document electronically, you can email the tenant a copy.
4. Manage repair requests
There are various ways how technological solutions make it easier to manage repair requests.
Let’s say that your tenant reports a leaking pipe. They can make a repair request directly from a property management app. Additionally, they can send photos or videos of the issue. You can then assess the urgency and take appropriate action.
There are more ways you can benefit from rental apps. For example, you can store a list of approved contractors in the app. All you have to do is forward the repair request for them to handle it. You can also pay the bill directly from the app.
Keeping a database of repair requests can also help you maintain properties better. Let’s say that you get requests about leaking faucets. You may realize that it’s more cost-effective to replace the faucets with better quality ones than to keep repairing them.
5. Arrange contactless showings
Thanks to technology, you can arrange showings without physically being present. Tech-savvy landlords install smart locks on rental units that they can access remotely. These electronic locks allow you to set up unique access codes for each prospective tenant. You can also arrange a video call with the tenant while they’re at the apartment to discuss details with them.
Of course, contactless showings are not possible if tenants are living in the unit. But for vacancies, contactless showings can save you a lot of time.
6. Smart technology for homes
You can make your life easier by installing smart technology in your rental units. Smart home devices can control heating, lighting, safety, and security. Some smart devices are useful for landlords, whereas others benefit tenants.
Let’s look at some benefits for landlords if they start using smart home devices:
- Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Some smart sensors send you, and your tenants push notifications if they detect smoke or CO. You can check up to see that your tenants are OK. They can also feel secure that they receive alerts wherever they are.
- Smart thermostats: Installing smart thermostats can save money on heating bills. The smart devices learn heating and cooling patterns and adjust the temperature accordingly. Using ‘intelligent’ devices is handy if you pay for your tenant’s heating. If your tenants pay heating costs, they will also appreciate cutting bills and saving money.
- Streaming video surveillance: In communal areas of buildings, you can live stream video to your smartphone. This can be useful if alarms go off or you want to increase security for your tenants.
Technology solutions for landlords
There are many ways that technology can ease the day-to-day tasks of being a landlord. Property management apps are packed with features to make it easier to collect rent, process applications, and run a successful business. Additionally, smart home devices can reduce the time you spend showing vacancies to prospective tenants.
Of course, being a landlord isn’t easy. But new technology can make your life much more comfortable.