A Guide to Smart Home Devices in your Rental Home

Turning on lights, music and heating with just your voice was the stuff of dreams only two decades ago. Today, smart technology is widespread and even reasonably priced, transforming the way we interact with our homes. And to help you decide if it’s the thing for you, we’ve put together a short guide to smart tech and how you can make it work in a rental property.

What is smart home technology?

Smart home technology is designed to make your life easier. Smart devices connect over Wi-Fi and can control anything from music and heating to CCTV security. You can control them with voice commands or even gestures and programme them to turn on or off when you want. Most come with easy to use smartphone control, so you can even control your smart tech when you’re not in the house.

What smart tech can I use without my landlord’s permission?

If you’re renting, you may be restricted in terms of smart devices; your landlord will have to approve any modifications such as screwing or drilling, or you’ll risk your security deposit. However, there are some things you can install stress-free, without altering your home permanently, which we’ll discuss below.

black apple homepod against a white background

Can I use smart home assistants without my landlord’s permission?

A smart home assistant controls other connected smart equipment including lighting, music and TV, and will listen to your commands; examples include Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod. These digital assistants feature speakers which can be placed anywhere around the home, and are smart hubs in their own right; as long as you have good Wi-fi, you won’t need to make any big alterations to your home.

Can I use smart lighting without my landlord’s permission?

You can get various types of smart lighting, but often it’s simpler than you think. You won’t have to rewire the house; if you buy the right smart bulbs, all you’ll have to do is screw them in and you’ll be able to control them using a smartphone app. This includes choosing the brightness and arranging for them to turn on when you arrive home.

Can I use smart plugs without my landlord’s permission?

Smart plugs are perfect for rental, as they sit between a device’s power lead and the wall, making the device ‘smart’. Using a smart plug, you could switch on a TV or kettle with an app on your phone or turn on a heater remotely and warm up the room before you get home.

Can I use smart security systems without my landlord’s permission?

You can even get a selection of landlord-friendly indoor security cameras that come with a pedestal stand and don’t need to be mounted on the wall. Many of these can also monitor temperature, noise, movement and humidity. Again, your security system will be connected to your smartphone, so you’ll get a notification if anything’s amiss.

black amazon echo on a wooden table

Can I install smart tech professionally in my rental home?

However, if you want to go all out with your smart tech and get a professional installation to allow for more complicated smart tech, you’ll need to double check with your landlord first. Assurances that you’ll fill and paper over any holes or marks left behind before you leave might help convince them. Installing a proper smart home hub can tie all your smart components together under a single user interface, making everything quicker and simpler – just make sure all the bits and pieces you buy are smart hub compatible.

An example of more complicated smart tech is smart central heating – connected boiler systems which let you set temperatures manually or based on weather conditions, maximising your comfort and saving you money in the long run.

Is it worth investing in smart tech for my rental property?

Smart tech revolutionises the way you interact with your home and can make life simpler especially for those with busy lifestyles. A professional installation can be expensive, with even the most basic network designs costing upwards of £3,000, but there are many cheaper quick-fix options (as mentioned above). If you have a good wireless router, smart tech will be hassle free and can be tailored to suit every budget. It can even help you to save money in the long run, as you can programme your heating, lighting etc. to minimise energy use.

You should also consider how long you’ll be in the property; if you’re only renting for a short length of time, it may not be worth investing in a professional installation so a smart home assistant that you can bring to your next home could be the way forward.

Smart tech might not be for everyone, but for those with busy lifestyles who want life at home to be as simple as possible, it can be a great option, even if you’re renting.

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