Could a Landlord Become a Digital Nomad?

Each generation looks for its own version of ‘the good life’. Once it was climbing the corporate ladder, but more and more young people today are rejecting the traditional 9-5 in favour of becoming ‘digital nomads’.

This isn’t a pandemic-created phenomenon. Before the pandemic, the rise of the internet created new careers – from social media managers to ‘influencers’, none of which, technically, needed to be office based. Many of these roles are great freelance opportunities and when you work for yourself, you make the rules!

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More than 4.8 million British people identify as self-employed and it’s projected that the global number of ‘digital nomads’ will hit 1 billion by 2035 – could landlords be among that number? 

What is a digital nomad?

As the internet became more mainstream in the late 1990s, Tsugio Makimoto and David Manners wrote a book called Digital Nomad in 1997, breaking down how technology could allow societies to adopt a more nomadic lifestyle.

Pre-internet, we had built a culture where you needed to be in the office to have a meeting, to do almost every part of your work, to be able to physically hand things over to colleagues. With the advent of the internet – that was no longer a necessity. Email quickly replaced fax as the best way to share information quickly and easily.

Could a landlord become a digital nomad

Now we are comfortably into the 21st century and have seen over the past two years just how much work can be done remotely, without the need for a traditional office set up. There are, of course, jobs that require a physical presence – a surgeon, supermarket worker or taxi driver, for example. 

But the pandemic certainly made it clear that it is completely possible to do a lot of other jobs remotely:

  • Video calls. You no longer have to worry about booking in travel time for meetings and you can still have them ‘face to face’ and share presentations thanks to platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts 
  • Direct messaging. Even if you can’t walk over to a colleague to ask a question or find out how their weekend was, you can drop them a quick message. While this may feel impersonal, it does mean they can choose to wait a bit to reply if they’re busy, so you don’t have to worry about interrupting them if they’re on a deadline
  • Email. Email has long been an integral part of business, but even more so now – it can facilitate conversation, share documents and keep you on track
  • Online project trackers. Platforms like Monday, Asana and Trello allow you to share group projects and keep on top of things digitally (they look a lot nicer than post-its too!)

All of this means that you could work remotely and travel the world – sounds like a pretty good deal, right?!

Can landlords become digital nomads?

Landlording is a job. Yes, many landlords run their portfolio alongside their day job, but it’s still a time-consuming side hustle with a big financial outlay and a lot of legal requirements to stay on top of.

However, here’s where the internet steps in to help! 

With a platform like Mashroom, it’s really easy to look after your properties, no matter where you are in the world. This means you can work abroad or travel and still be available to do all you need to for your tenants:

  • Finding tenants. Mashroom helps you find your tenants for free, with 30 days free advertising on Rightmove and Zoopla. Everything is done within the platform, from organising viewings to contracts, so it’s all easy and in one place
  • Legal requirements. As a landlord, you have to make sure that you have your EICR, EPC and Gas Safety Certificate all in order, or you could face a fine. We offer all of the legal certificates you need, so again, it’s all in one place and in just a few clicks, you could be fully compliant
  • Inventory Check In and Check Out. Outsource your inventory and the check in and out process and someone else will advise on any damage done to the property that you may need to take out of the deposit 
  • Paper trail. Our free Document Storage Tool keeps all your documents in one place – and reminds you when one is up for expiry, so you can update it in a couple of clicks
  • Tracking. We also offer a free Expense Tracker, that will help you track all your income and expenses, so you can budget more efficiently
  • Maintenance. If there’s an issue in your property, the tenant can contact you through the platform and you can use our Local Heroes connection to organise a fix ASAP

All of this can be done remotely – you might be travelling, on holiday or even just living in a different part of the UK, but our platform helps you respond as quickly as easily as possible.

When does a landlord need to be there in person?

However, there are obviously times when a landlord needs to be there in person:

  • Viewings. Whether it’s an in-person or a video viewing, you’ll need to be at the property. You can arrange for your current tenant to run the viewing or ask a trusted friend or family member to do it, but as this is the first time you’re meeting a potential tenant, it’s great for both sides to meet in person
  • Meeting your tenant. There are a lot of landlords who don’t think they need to meet their tenants and are just happy to reference them and leave the rest to the letting agent. However, we are very pro you meeting your tenant – there is nothing like meeting someone and getting a feel for who they are to help make you feel comfortable renting to them
  • Checks. Another legal requirement is ensuring that you have working fire alarms on every floor (and carbon monoxide detectors, if necessary). While you can ask someone else to check this on your behalf, it is your responsibility to make sure that they’re in full working order, so we advise this is something you do yourself (and get a video of the check as evidence of this!)
  • Minor updates. If you are between tenants and the place could do with a lick of paint, it’s great if you are able to do that as you will save money on a handyman

Landlording is a people-centric business, so we heartily recommend that you build good working relationships with your tenants. So while the internet does offer you a lot more freedom when it comes to being far away from your property, there is a lot to be said for the in-person touch, so don’t let the convenience of technology get in the way of that.

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Mashroom is an appointed representative of Adelphi Insurance Brokers Ltd. Adelphi Insurance Brokers Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Their Financial Services Register number is 594620, with permitted business activities being introducing, advising, arranging, dealing as agent, assisting in the administration and performance of general insurance contracts and credit broking in relation to insurance instalment facilities. You may check this on the Financial Services Register by visiting the FCA’s website, or by contacting the FCA on 0800 111 6768