Smart Home Automation for LandlordTurn on the AC. Unlock the door for the cleaning service, and lock it when they leave. Turn on the porch light. Notice a water leak before it causes damage.  And do it all from your office, the airport, or while on vacation with your smartphone.

Home automation systems like these gives users extra convenience to easily monitor and control home systems remotely.

Smart homes have gained popularity due to overwhelming success of computer-to-computer communication, a situation referred to the Internet of Things .  With smartphones and tablets becoming more available and powerful every year, consumers now have access to smart home technologies that were once deemed for billionaire homeowners and futuristic fantasies.

As Zillow predicted in for trends to watch in 2015, the Internet of Things is slowly influencing home building with smart home technologies giving residents added security, comfort, energy management, and convenience.

Home automation systems can be wired into the structure of the house with a central control panel or offered through external devices, like electronic plug adapters and standalone sensors that don’t require any mounting or rewiring.  These home automation systems create smart homes, which are connected over wireless networks and linked directly to a smartphone or tablet, letting the user control smart home devices from an app.

Some developers and real estate investors are considering the benefits of installing smart home automation systems in their rental properties, to not only attract tech-savvy tenants who would not mind paying higher rent for these prices, but also actively manage maintenance, improve security, and prevent property damage.  On the other hand, if a landlord does not want to build or rewire a home with integrated smart home features, renters can opt to invest in their own smart devices that don’t damage walls or violate lease terms.

Here is a list some of the leading innovations in smart home technologies and the benefits they can provide you as a landlord or property manager or your tenants.    These types of products are available at home improvement stores, electronic stores, online retailers and installation services.

Smart Home Technologies for Landlords:

The biggest benefit for landlords include preventive maintenance, added security, and accessibility to rental property.

  • Smart Appliances can inform a landlord if an appliance needs to be maintenance without having to rely on passive tenant to report a small issue before it becomes a huge (expensive) problem.
  • Remote Access:  A common issue with landlords is providing approved access to maintenance personnel or contractor who need to fix something in a rental unit.  Smart locks allows a landlord to unlock a unit with their smartphone from anywhere, and then re-lock it when they vacate the unit, without having to coordinate schedules to meet in person or give out keys.
  • Moisture Sensor: A smart moisture sensor can detect excess moisture and send an alter to a landlord’s smartphone to manage plumbing issues, broken pipes, or damp basements before it is too late.
  • Smart Irrigation Systems:  Landlords toe the line between wanting to maintain beautiful landscapes for added curb appeal and wanting to actively manage water usage.  Smart irrigation systems go beyond a programmed timer for watering lawns and flower beds but can monitor weather patterns, soil moisture content and temperatures to adjust water usage accordingly.

Home automation systems for landlords can be a costly investment for owners that want to install internal systems but they also have to option to use external devices.  Problems that are resolved before they become an inconvenience to a tenant improves landlord tenant relations  and eliminate late night maintenance calls and help prevent expensive repairs.

Smart Home Technologies for Tenants:

The biggest benefit for tenants who wish to control their own smart home devices include added convenience, energy management and personal security.

  • Smart Plugs: Smart plugs require not extra hard wiring and let you manage devices plugged into outlets from anywhere.  You can turn on a lamp to make it look like you’re home when you’re not. Turn on a slow-cooker to start preparing dinner while you are at the office.  You can also power down smart plug outlets for limit passive energy use, all from a simple app on your smartphone.
  • Smart Lighting: Smart lighting is as easy as screwing in a special LED lightbulb (no re-wiring needed!).  Users can create and control light using a smartphone or tablet, to set the mood for a party or romantic dinner with colors and brightness.  You can also program smart lights to slowly brighten in the morning to help your eyes adjust to a new day.
  • Smart Sensors: External sensors can detect when things open or close, if there’s a vibration, or if an object moves.  You can receive notifications directly to your smartphone anytime a door, drawer or cabinet opens that’s not supposed to.  This can help tenants protect their belongings from nosey roommates or help a parent make sure Junior stays out of the liquor cabinet.
  • Smart Thermostats : While programmable thermostats are not a novel idea, smart thermostats consider weather patterns and user behavior to adjust temperatures as needed. Your tenants can also turn on the AC or heater from the office or a restaurant if they are coming home early or later than usual, so they arrive to comfortable home.

Some other fun appliances that send alerts directly to your phone include:

  • Trash cans that make grocery lists or generate online orders based on items thrown away.
  • Refrigerators that create dinner recipes from ingredients stored inside
  • Washer and dryers that send a text message to the user when a cycle has ended

Limitations to smart home automation involve multiple devices requiring different applications, resulting in users getting bogged down in running too many systems from their smartphone or tablet.  Some companies have sought to connect all wireless home automation products with one app for to improve usability.  Additional risks involved in home automation systems include hacker vulnerabilities or network failures.  

These are just some of the smart home automation systems on the market.  Each product has it’s own benefits and limitations. .Before purchasing any device, research the products and manufacturers to find one that best fits your needs.