Digital Landlords: How Technology is Changing the Property Landscape
April 15, 2019
For landlords, renting and managing properties has never been easier than it is today. Online property platforms and the latest tech help you do this by streamlining property and tenant management.
Tenant and property management apps
As we discussed in a previous blog post online technology is making it increasingly easy to be a long distance landlord. Online property management platforms such as Arthur Online, Digital Landlord and Lisa Property offer web-based solutions to managing your occupied properties.
These online platforms bypass both online and traditional high street estate agents. Instead, you can create a profile to consolidate your properties and tenants and then easily manage them through the platform, as opposed to via emails or a letting agent.
Tasks such as issuing rent reminders, organising inspections, resolving maintenance issues and general correspondence can all be done through your tablet or laptop.
Often, you will pay a monthly or annual fee to use their property software, with the price depending on the type and number of properties you want to manage, and how many features you want to take advantage of. But the overall cost is often significantly lower than the fees you would pay to estate agents and property managers to perform the same tasks for you.
DIY landlord apps
Then there are the DIY landlord apps such as Rentr, Landlord Property Buddy and Pad. Their interfaces allow you to browse through the profiles of your properties, send tenants rent reminders and view inspection reports.
From the tenant side, these apps help them to keep you in the loop with any problems that need your assistance, such as broken boilers that need fixing. This speeds up fixing any essential repairs, keeping your tenants happy and your reputation as a reliable landlord intact.
Tenants can also easily view and record information such as transaction and payment receipts from any device, saving both you and them time rifling through paperwork or scrolling through old emails. By centralising all these useful tools and information in one place, DIY landlord apps minimise the time spent chasing up unanswered emails or phone calls. Everything can be sorted within a few clicks.
Paperless progression and integrated finances
Many of these online property portals also let you go paperless. Property management platforms are helping landlords move with the times.
Tenancy documents, contracts, reports, floor plans, certificates and any other documentation related to your properties can all be stored online on software such as TenantCloud and Responsible Landlord. Cozy, PayYourRent and Buildium help track rent and deposit payments to ensure financial transactions are easy to find and accessible to everyone. With the integrated accounting and expense management tools, you can keep on top of your income and expenditure.
While programs such as Smarter Inventories allow you to create online inventories with attached photos uploaded straight from your phone for efficient documentation. Some types of property management software even let you create or upload e-sign tenancy agreements that can be easily found by all parties.
By simplifying all the admin side of managing rental properties, these online property platforms remove the need for estate agents. Which also means that you don’t have to pay any costly service charges. It’s quite normal for high street letting agents to charge a 20% commission for their assistance in managing your property. In comparison, the cost of digital property management software can be as little as 1% of the overall property rent.
The best landlord around
To be a fair and respected landlord, you need to be fully aware of your responsibilities and the rights of your tenants. Often, these types of rental property management apps and software will provide you with access to essential how-tos and resources to ensure that you are doing what is expected of you as a landlord.
We have some great learning resources of our own too! From checklists to help you ensure that you’re covering the basics, to summaries of government leasing legislation and property regulations, there is plenty for you to read up on.
There are also online resources from websites such as Property Checklists and Landlord Zone, which offer insightful ebooks and how-to guides for modern landlords wanting to keep abreast of changes in the private rented sector.
Rental speed dating
In the same way that Uber lets you rate your drivers, apps for tenants and landlords will often let renters rate their property manager. Websites such as Rate Your Landlord, The Tenants Voice and Rental Raters also allow tech-savvy tenants to write their honest opinions about their landlords, which can then be reviewed by potential future residents. This is helpful for tenants because, in the UK, a lot of landlords are still unlicensed. Unlicensed landlords do not have to go through the same legal checks that their licensed counterparts undergo. This means that unlicensed landlords can get away with unethical or exploitative conduct, which can give the vast majority of good, responsible landlords a bad name.
These apps are often a two-way street. Platforms such as RentalStep allow landlords to rate their tenants in return, with both renters and rentiers building up an online profile that can be viewed by prospective landlords and tenants.
Some online property platforms such as MyRental and SmartMove also let you screen potential tenants, review and accept online rental applications and arrange viewings, which helps speed up the process of finding new tenants who are reliable.
The property know-it-all
Thanks to insightful online investment guides and the abundance of easily accessible investment data, investors in the buy-to-let market have never been more informed. Companies such as Property Data and REalyse capture information from the rental market to provide complete market analysis for their customers to use.
Investment guides provide powerful insights into the best locations for ROI while software such as Matterport can create 3D tours of properties to allow buy-to-let investors to virtually explore potential investment properties from anywhere in the world.
Factors such as time, distance and money are becoming less restrictive as a result of technological innovation, opening up the property market to swathes of new investors and making life a great deal easier for current investors.
How is Vesta helping?
As an online marketplace for the buy-to-let market, Vesta is very much a part of this online revolution. From our expert landlord guides and financial calculators, to our property investment glossary and blog, we aim to make buy-to-let property investment easier and fairer, for landlords and tenants alike.
It’s not just our insightful resources and expert property investment knowledge that set us apart. As the only online marketplace in the UK dedicated solely to the buying and selling of tenanted property, we minimise risk to a landlord’s investment by enabling rental income from day one, supporting them to understand the tenant and rental track-record, and bypassing expensive lettings agent fees all together. Get in touch today to find out more.