7 Smart Home Features Today's Renters Want


Landlords and property managers who want to attract the most desirable tenant business need to offer the most desirable amenities. Increasingly, today’s renter wants to be fully on the grid, whenever and wherever they need it—and they’re willing to pay. That means that you should be offering the smart home features that are now massively popular.

However, a fully functional smart home isn’t as simple as adding a voice assistant speaker to your units. (And many folks already own one, anyway.) The features that are often most attractive to renters are the features that make the apartment itself more secure, more efficient and better overall.

That list includes things like smart locks, smart utilities and smart outlets. These devices often aren’t as flashy as, say, a smart fridge, but they’re all appealing to tenants for their practicality. Most importantly, as we’ll see, they offer advantages for both tenant and property owner. So, which devices should you be looking at?

  1. Smart Locks

Security is a common interest of renters and tenants, so it stands to reason that smart security devices are some of the most desirable and effective smart home technology investments you can make in a rental property. Smart locks are a great place to start.

One of the biggest advantages of smart locks is that they eliminate the need to change or rekey locks when tenants move out (or for other security reasons). With a simple code reprogramming sequence, a tenant can have a new code in minutes. Some high-end smart locks offer extras like biometric scanners and mobile device connectivity, but these are often more trouble than they’re worth. Keypad locks are simple, effective and widely used. (They also make it harder for tenants to lock themselves out!)

  1. Smart Video Monitoring

Security monitoring equipment such as video cameras is another piece of the smart security equation, and it can be just as important as smart locks. These devices give both tenants and property owners peace of mind.

Video monitoring can offer tenants increased security through doorbell cameras, hallway cameras and more. Smart video cameras now almost always offer remote access through an app, enabling property management and tenants both to keep an eye on common areas and promote safety. The up-front cost can also be surprisingly low, with numerous high-quality, affordable smart cameras now available.

If you’re considering adding in-unit video monitoring, think carefully and make sure it’s right for you. It offers enhanced security and ability for tenants to monitor children and pets, but it requires high levels of tenant-landlord trust, and it can open property owners up to privacy concerns.

  1. Smart Alarms

Most commercially available alarm systems now include some kind of smart home functionality. The high-end models offer options such as direct monitoring support from professionals and automatic contact with police and fire departments. Others can be monitored by tenants and/or building security via tablets and smartphones.

Surprisingly, you often won’t even need a professional install—many of the available DIY options can be installed by maintenance crews. However, if you have numerous units to upgrade to smart alarms, using a professionally installed alarm service may be just as cost-effective. Whichever route you choose, a smart alarm system is a great way to inspire your tenants’ trust and give them the tools to take charge of their security.



  1. Smart Moisture Sensors

Whether it’s around bathroom fixtures like toilets and sinks, under floorboards or any one of numerous trouble spots, water can do devastating damage to your units—and smart moisture sensors can help prevent it.

These small and unobtrusive sensors are an investment in your property’s long-term integrity and habitability. They’re typically encased in waterproof electronic device enclosures and stay hidden in areas like the underside of refrigerators and back side of toilets, monitoring for leaks and pinging the maintenance team if they detect any. A tenant may never notice a smart moisture sensor, but they’ll certainly notice water damage, so it’s in your best interest to make sure you’re well-equipped to discover and fight it.

  1. Smart Thermostats

When they’re implemented properly, smart utility devices can be money-savers for tenants, making them a big selling point. These devices give tenants features such as the ability to adjust their thermostat remotely from a smartphone app, but they also offer big potential savings on utility costs. One smart thermostat company estimates that its customers save over $130 a year on average, making them highly attractive to cost-conscious tenants.

To make sure the devices you’re getting are the best, look for an Energy Star smart thermostat certification on a thermostat’s packaging or electronic device enclosure. Other features to look for include a simple, intuitive interface and programmable automation.

  1. Smart Lighting

Smart lighting is the perfect blend of conservation and convenience. Both motion detector and remote-controlled lighting offer tenants great potential for energy savings, convenience and quality of life.

These systems are especially good when used together. Motion detector lights are good for everyday tasks like turning lights on and off when entering and leaving rooms, while remote-controlled lights offer more flexibility, power and control. Remote lights are also great for safety. Tenants can turn on lights before coming home or set their lights to mimic their normal pattern of activity while they’re on vacation.

  1. Smart Outlets

A smart outlet lets a tenant add just about any device around their home into a part of their smart home grid. Outlets and devices can be switched on and off via smart home hubs, voice assistants and even phone apps, giving renters the ability to turn off the straightener they left plugged in or the light they left on. Tenants can easily get many smart outlet devices themselves, but they can make a great inclusion as part of a fully-loaded “smart apartment” package.



Now that Internet of Things technology has truly taken off, many homeowners are interested in building their own smart homes. If property owners and managers want to invest in helping them do that, they’ll find a receptive audience of tenants willing to pay more for the 21st century amenities they demand.

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