Rentals today are becoming increasingly digital. Smart locks for rental properties are some of the latest upgrades to make waves among landlord and tenant communities alike. These locks can improve the safety of a burgeoning apartment complex, but are they worth the cost?

What Are Smart Locks?

Smart locks, as the name implies, are locks that collaborate with the rest of your home’s Internet of Things (IoT). A smart lock eliminates the need for tenants to carry keys, keeping out unauthorized parties while limiting the clutter people have to keep in their pockets.

There are two types of smart locks for rental units currently available on the market. Certain locks can be fitted to an existing deadbolt, limiting the number of doorway modifications landlords have to make to a lot. Others replace deadbolts entirely.

Landlords can determine what kind of smart lock may work best for a particular property. Certain smart locks, for example, connect to a tenant’s phone, making them easier than ever to open from the street. 

Others are voice-activated, which means that the resident needs to be within a certain distance of the lock to open their door. Some also rely on fingerprint scanning, just like many iPhones.

Which Smart Locks are Best?

All of these smart locks are designed to improve tenants’ safety and convenience surrounding a rental property. Determining which suits the needs of both a landlord and a tenant is often a matter of trial and error. 

Landlords, for example, may want to offer the Internet as a utility in homes with smart locks to ensure the lock’s overall functionality. Others may want to take advantage of pre-existing apps to ease smart lock integration into existing tenants’ leases.

Under certain circumstances, landlords must ask tenants to state whether they want to rent a unit with a smart lock. Tenants who aren’t particularly interested may opt for more traditional locks, thereby limiting the Internet utilities and other support that a landlord has to offer. 

What is the Average Cost of Smart Locks?

Smart lock hardware is relatively inexpensive, considering all of the other appliances landlords need to include in a rental unit. On average, you can find a smart lock for less than $200. Depending on the number of smart locks needed, certain manufacturers may even give landlords discounts on bulk orders.

Note that this base cost does not include installation. Landlords interested in installing smart locks throughout their property will need to work with the manufacturer to arrange installation or reach out to a third party for a cost estimate.

What Additional Hardware Do You Need to Install a Smart Lock?

As mentioned, smart locks work as part of a larger, WiFi-based system. If you want a smart lock to work on your rental property, you need additional hardware and software set up in your rental unit. 

Unless you’ve partnered your smart lock with a traditional lock, you need to have the Internet router installed and operational before a tenant moves onto your property. If you have other smart appliances, you’ll want to ensure that the software needed to manage all of them has been updated throughout the unit.

The Advantages of a Smart Lock

With smart locks installed throughout a rental complex, landlords can:

  • Monitor the comings and goings of tenants
  • Reduce office clutter with a singular control key
  • Reset lock combinations after tenant move-outs
  • Protect tenants from local threats

Similarly, tenants benefit from smart lock protections. These locks — especially those triggered by a phone — keep you from walking away from an unlocked house. 

They also prevent thieves from breaking in through traditional means. If you have a smart lock that’s also equipped with a camera, you can keep an eye out for unfamiliar faces and protect your packages from porch pirates.

Protecting Your Properties

Smart locks go a long way when it comes to protecting a rental property. With that being said, their additional installation and utility expenses may put some landlords off. 

If you’ve debated putting smart locks on your rental properties before, make sure to check in with your tenants. Explore your smart lock options with tenant opinions in mind, and it’ll be easier than ever to effectively upgrade the safety features in your rental complex.

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