PRSim Operations Director, Seb Caunter joined other industry experts at a UKAA webinar ‘The next property disruptor: Unlocking the opportunity in Single Family Rental through technology’. The discussion considered how technology and data collection can help make single family rental (SFR) a sector spearheading progress towards;
- carbon neutral homes
- streamlined operations
- ultimately improved tenant experiences
SFR is still a very new addition to the UK residential sector, evidently, it is bursting with potential for innovation and progress. Innovation and progress within the SFR sector will lead to higher volume, which will in turn lend itself to an increase in subcontracting suppliers in PRS, as explained by our pannellists in the clip below.
A key advantage, of the use of technology, mentioned by all the panellists, was how new tools used in SFR developments can help to reduce the carbon footprint of tenants. Devices like, smart meters and controls, can help tenants track their energy usage and control it from anywhere, a 2019 survey suggested that 85% of households with smart meters made energy saving changes, whilst onsite electric car charging points are increasingly desirable for eco-conscious tenants. The condensed nature of SFR developments, presents an opportunity for investment in new technologies like communal ground heat sources.
The use of technology in managing SFR allows for focused data collection that helps to simplify decision making, and allow for a broad understanding of what tenants need and desire. The SFR model, allows for the collection of data about tenant demographics that can indicate what upgrades might be most desirable, whilst collecting data about maintenance processes can be used to focus in on specific problem elements and allow for anticipatory fixes. Technology used by SFR companies like PRSim, can allow for helpful analysis of this data.
Technology is also being used at ground level, for example, the use of portals for tenant communication. Not only does this allow an additional point of contact between tenants and property managers, but also facilitates contact with third parties, like contractors.
As Seb explained the use of portals is
“Absolutely imperative to our operational efficiency really… communication is huge, the opportunity for the resident to speak directly to the contractor around appointment making and follow ups and those sorts of things is absolutely key”.
Such elements streamline the process, making it more quick and convenient for all parties involved.
In fact, the importance of portals to managing relationships between tenants and landlords has received governmental attention, with plans recently announced for a national portal registering rental properties.
Other technologies that are beginning to have an impact for the day to day operations of SFR schemes, include keyless entry, where remotely changeable passcodes enable self-guided tours or maintenance access within specified times. A further benefit of keyless entry, as noted elsewhere, is that a fob system can help to reduce surface contamination, a benefit people are more aware of post-Covid. Alongside this is the use of increasingly sophisticated security technology, such as motion detectors, important particularly in SFR developments that do not have the security provided in multi-family apartment blocks with multiple locked doors. The increased efficiency that these technologies could bring to the SFR sector is explained in depth in this short clip taken from the webinar.
Of course, the most important thing that these technologies are delivering for SFR is tenant satisfaction. Technology can demonstrably make SFR developments more energy efficient and more safe, as well as making communication easier when solving problems. Portals can also be used to facilitate community building in SFR developments, a unique selling point of the sector when compared to the private rental sector. The use of technology on the management end also frees up time that property managers can use to be more active in individual cases and more engaged with customers generally. As one panellist pointed out, ultimately customers want to be happy and property managers want to make them happy, technology is a big part of achieving that.
All things considered, what is the future for the Single Family Rental sector? Watch the clip below to find out what our expert panellists thought.
To watch the complete webinar, click here.