I was asked to participate in Loft’s PRS Magazine, this edition was titled ‘A BTR tomorrow’. Here’s a little article I wrote on how students expectations are driving technological changes in private housing. You can sign up and download the magazine by heading to Loft’s website.

One of the great things about working within student accommodation is the little experience our tenants have had of the rental sector. When most students rent out a house with their second year of university this is the first taste of the rental sector since the move into university halls is largely assisted by their parents from their family home.

Due to this the student demographic is a customer base that have never experienced the sector before and are writing the rulebook in terms of expectations and directly affecting the value proposition that most companies must offer to attain these newly defined expectations. This combined with a thirst for technology means that students are going to assist in driving forward the smart home revolution (alongside the Trojan horse that is the smart home speaker – I’m talking about the Amazon Echo’s and Google Home smart speakers that were found under Christmas tree’s last year)

10 years ago the expectations of the student private rental sector were that you would have to live in low standard accommodation for two years and then move out into the big wide world into better professional rented accommodation whilst saving for a deposit to purchase your own home.

Over the past decade students have begun to wise up and wonder why they can’t live in high quality accommodation like other human beings – our CEO Charlie Vaughan-Lee was refused a nice property to rent whilst studying at Bristol which led to him establishing Student Cribs, lots of companies since have begun providing quality accommodation to students and overall have brought up the market standard. A similar paradigm shift is coming again to the student (and then the professional) rental sector.

Don’t believe me? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Were flat screen TV’s offered by student landlords 10 years ago?
  • .. no.
  • Are they offered by most student landlords now?
  • Yes

In Loft’s 2023 PRS Magazine I’ll be asking the same question regarding smart home technology and we’ll probably have the same answer. It’s definitely worth studying up on the sector if you’re unsure of how you would integrate smart home technology within your property. We’re currently developing a house in Liverpool which will have smart lighting, smart heating, smart blinds, smart locks, video doorbell and voice control throughout. But before you get too excited and begin impulse buying tech online make sure you have the WiFi infrastructure to support it!

Tenants from the United Kingdom have 3.1 connected devices per person (Think phones, laptops, tablets, wearables and smart-everything) in a five bed house this is 15.5 devices. The smart home revolution probably won’t be televised but it will definitely require a robust internet connection to ensure your tenant’s browsing speed isn’t throttled by your poor infrastructure choices.



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