More Internet of Things for Landlords

9 Replies

I'm still tracking to forecast how the IoT will benefit landlords.

Some newer thinking suggests a world of interconnected sensors will transition us away from viewing of our rentals as products and more towards housing services.

More as housing "outcomes".

How would Outcomes as a Service (OaaS) type thinking affect the long- and short-term rental business?

Please help me think this through.

We have always favored the service approach. We are certainly providing housing services and this certainly is a business centered around people and their needs. We see it as a privilege and a blessing to be be able to do so.

My former employer, a major medical center/hospital, had a mission statement that really hits home. "To enhance the health and well-being of the people we serve." Think about what we are striving to provide.... product and/or service. Our residential rental property business mission statement is "We strive to provide safe, clean, affordable, comfortable and quiet housing for responsible renters in the neighborhoods of West Vancouver." It is not only about the tenants, but also about the greater community. 

In our current rental environment, there is a severe housing shortage for low-income and fixed income folks. Times are getting tough for the middle class too. Their ability, or inability, to meet their basic need for housing impacts the greater community. Our lives are interconnected. Strive for the greater good in work and life. The outcomes will follow suit.

@Al Williamson

I would have thought you an @Marcia Maynard would be tired of my blabbering about how we are not landlords, but an accommodation services provider.  I might even be so bold as state we are transitioning - at least with our student rentals - towards a lifestyle services provider.

One internal trend we were discussing just yesterday is that we now {partially} furnish approximately 50% of our student rentals.  In a few instances, we have even ventured into "built-in" furniture - mostly in rooms into which it is difficult to move furniture (lofts, basements, rooms with odd shapes/dimensions).   Students frequently bring their own mattresses, but no bed, dresser or desk.  The tenants and their parents seem to like the approach and, for us, it means less wear and tear on the property.

On the Internet of Things (IoT) front, our building monitoring and management system is built on this strategy.  Presently we have lots of sensors (moisture, motion, light, sound, etc) that can be used to provide input to control the HVAC system, lights, appliances, alert us when there is water in catch pan under the laundry or water heater, etc.  We also have the ability to (un)lock doors remotely or using an App.

We are continuously adding new functionality.  At the moment, I'm working to solve an issue around the manual override of the HVAC programme at one of our houses.  If a tenant comes home at a time when they are usually away (i.e. a class was cancelled or skipped) and overrides the programme in the thermostat to raise the temperature in the unit, they frequently choose the permanent hold of the override (because it requires less input then selecting a duration for the override) and, subsequently leave the house.  I'm testing a modification which will cancel the override if the system has determined no one is left in the unit.

@Marcia Maynard @Roy N. ya'll are my people! Thanks for your perspectives.

What about insurance premiums? Roy N., is your insurance company giving you a discount on your premium due to your moisture sensors and other risk reducing devices?

If not, will you ask them and report back?

Thanks

@Al Williamson

My insurance provider and I have been dancing on that for over a year.   When I first discussed what we were doing with them, they were intrigued, but did not have an existing "box" into which to classify all these sensors - like they have for smoke and CO detectors, sewer back-flow valves, etc.   

This spring we had a water heater leak - actually a poorly soldered elbow on the inlet line - and we were notified and able to correct the problem before more than a quart of water had made its way into the overflow tray.    I wrote a comparison of this event to a water heater leak at another property a few years ago (before our system was deployed) where the supply shutoff valve on a water heater in a closet of a second floor unit leaked and went unnoticed by the tenants until the laminate flooring in the adjacent room started to cup.    Cost of the event this spring: $65.00 for the plumber to go out and re-solder the join.   Cost of prior event - ~$2800 to pull up two floors, replace a section of the subfloor; replace a portion of the sound / fire break insulation between the units; remove mould and mildew from the remainder of the subfloor and relay finish flooring in two rooms.

They have comeback twice since then to ask more questions about our system.

Ask me the question again in the spring and I hope to have more positive news.

Originally posted by @Al Williamson :

I'm still tracking to forecast how the IoT will benefit landlords.

Some newer thinking suggests a world of interconnected sensors will transition us away from viewing of our rentals as products and more towards housing services.

More as housing "outcomes".

How would Outcomes as a Service (OaaS) type thinking affect the long- and short-term rental business?

Please help me think this through.

Hi Al,

I work for Homebase.ai we have built a property management and resident mobile portal that is built off of the IoT integrated OaaS concept. In new construction, a new mid to high end multi-family building can take more than 2 years to complete. New buildings that do not integrate smart devices  are going to be dinosaurs before the building is even completed, because the prevalence of IoT devices in our day-to-day lives will increase exponentially year after year. Buildings without smart locks, thermostats and other smart devices will be behind in the amenity race. 

These IoT devices (leak detectors, smart locks, HVAC systems, smart lights, thermostats, etc.) all can be integrated to trigger automation flows for property mangers that can make maintenance ticket management automated, improve property manager to resident communications, automate renovations and unit flips on resident move out, and even craft resident tailored experiences. These IoT devices seamlessly paired together in OaaS processes can create an operating system for a building. If paired together correctly, your brick and mortar building turns into a smart trackable well oiled machine. 

I'd be happy to talk more if you have any further questions.